Why Does the Divorce Process Take So Long?
In a world where groceries can be delivered to our door, 2-day shipping is an expectation, and voice-command is at our fingertips, it can be very difficult to understand how a divorce can take months, even years, to complete. Unfortunately, due to the nature of a divorce, this timeline can be unpredictable. Fortunately, there are several ways you can estimate the potential timeline for your divorce. Based on your expectations, the legalities of your case, and other details, your divorce might only take a few months, or it may span two years.
To determine how long your divorce may take, ask yourself the following:
Is my divorce contentious?
Arguments between divorcing spouses are quite normal, but if this is your only form of communication, your divorce is probably going to take much longer than you’d like. Contention makes it difficult to find a middle ground, and when you can’t agree, you’re unlikely to move forward quickly.
How complex is my case?
Divorce cases with more complex issues will, without a doubt, take longer to finalize. Issues like child custody, relocation, international issues, complex assets/debts, or domestic violence can make a divorce more complicated and therefore longer to resolve. For example, if you and your co-parent need to arrange a highly customized custody arrangement, it could take some time to negotiate an agreeable plan. Or, if you have a high-asset divorce involving investments, business holdings, or other high-value property, you will have to spend time to properly value your assets and negotiate (or litigate) how the assets will be divided.
Do I have to go to court?
The large majority of divorces are settled outside of a court trial, but in some cases, court can’t be avoided. However, if you and your spouse wish avoid court to save time, work towards negotiating a settlement agreement with the help of your attorneys and potentially a mediator. Going through the court will make the process take much longer, plus, the often-contentious nature of divorce trials has a tendency to draw out the timeline.
How busy is my divorce court?
Family courts are busy and wait times for hearing dates can be longer than you’d like. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done about this—you can’t do anything to clear the court’s calendar and you have to wait your turn. That being said, you may try to resolve your case outside of court to avoid this unwanted obstacle.
Nobody wants to spend more time obtaining a divorce than they have to, so it’s understandable to feel impatient and frustrated with a lengthy divorce. Ultimately, avoiding court and working towards a civil relationship with your spouse will help make for a smoother process, however, sometimes court-related issues and legal timelines simply can’t be rushed.
If you’re ever confused about the timeline for your divorce, always ask your attorney for clarification. Our team at McKinley Irvin is committed to providing our clients and their families with compassionate legal support, and we can help guide you during this difficult, confusing time. Contact McKinley Irvin to discuss your case with our firm.