How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce?

If you have made the difficult decision to get a divorce, you know that this is not a decision that is made lightly, or without a great deal of forethought. However, once the decision has been made, you may be anxious to finalize the divorce as quickly as possible so that you can move on with your life. While some divorces can be resolved more quickly than others if there are no complex custody or property issues that need to be negotiated, in most cases, the process of finalizing a divorce can take a year or more. A skilled divorce lawyer can assist you with every step of the divorce process and help you reach a successful settlement as quickly as possible.

What Factors Can Delay the Divorce Process?

The average divorce takes between ten and twelve months to finalize. However, there are a number of factors that can increase the amount of time it takes to resolve a divorce, including:

  • You are having problems serving your spouse divorce papers. If you have filed for divorce, a process server will deliver the divorce documents to your spouse. If your spouse makes this process complicated, or refuses to sign the documents, this will delay the process.
  • You have a range of complex issues that need to be resolved. It takes time to resolve some of the more complex marital issues, including child support and custody, the distribution of marital property, and how to handle debt that your spouse may have accumulated over the course of the marriage. This may require multiple negotiations to resolve these disputes, and if an agreement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial which will drag the process out even further.
  • You are going through a high-conflict divorce. In some cases, couples have reached the point where they are unable to agree on anything and unwilling to compromise at all. When a divorce becomes volatile and contentious, the process can take longer to resolve.
  • Your spouse is trying to hide assets. During the divorce process, both parties’ attorneys will identify all assets and sources of income. If your spouse tries to hide assets, not only will this delay the process, but your spouse could face legal consequences.
  • You must wait until your scheduled court date. You may be ready to keep the process moving so you can finalize your divorce as quickly as possible, but this does not happen overnight. You must wait for your scheduled court date, which can take time, particularly if there are backlogs in the court calendar, or if the attorneys representing you and your spouse have scheduling conflicts.

Are There Steps I Can Take to Speed Up the Divorce Process?

While there are certain aspects of the divorce process that you cannot avoid, there are some things that you can do that may help move things along more quickly, including:

  • Use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Examples include:
    • Mediation: This involves using a neutral third-party mediator to help you and your spouse resolve your issues without having to go to court. This is significantly less expensive and time-consuming than divorce litigation.
    • Arbitration: This involves hiring an arbitrator, who is often a retired divorce lawyer or a judge. It is a less formal process than litigation, and occurs in a lawyer’s office. This is also a more cost-effective and efficient process than arbitration.   
  • Communicate with each other. The more you are able to work through your issues and come up with possible solutions, the more likely it is that you will be able to reach an agreement on key issues and speed up the process.

Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Navigate the Divorce Process

If you and your spouse are seeking a divorce, our experienced Somerville divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. will ensure that you reach the best possible settlement as quickly as possible. We will address all of your questions and concerns and ensure that your legal rights are protected every step of the way. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville and Morristown, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.