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The time frame for your divorce, after you respond, will vary depending on your state and the circumstances surrounding the divorce. If there is conflict regarding division of property, spousal support or anything else, then you and your spouse will likely need to go to court, which can prolong the proceedings.
Divorces typically take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, although there are situations that can result in a divorce taking over a year. Here are the questions that will determine how long your divorce is likely to take.
What state do you reside in?
Your state is a significant factor in how quickly your divorce will go, because each state has different divorce laws and time frames. You can file for divorce in any state that you’re a resident of, and your spouse can do the same. Residency requirements when it comes to filing for divorce will vary by state. For example, California requires that you live in the state at least six months before filing for divorce there, whereas Arizona has a requirement of 90 days to establish residency.
Your spouse doesn’t need to be a resident of the same state where you’re filing for divorce. If he isn’t, the state may give him more time to respond.
After you or your spouse has responded to the divorce, your state comes into play again. Certain states allow divorce courts to grant your divorce as soon as you and your spouse agree to terms, which means it could happen shortly after a response. Other states require spouses to wait a set amount of time before the divorce can be finalized.
For example, if the divorce is taking place in California, there’s a mandatory six-month waiting period for a divorce. This waiting period begins after one spouse files the petition for divorce and serves the other with papers, not after a response is made. Let’s say that your spouse files for divorce and has you served on January 1. You have 30 days to respond, and you do so on January 15. The court can finalize your divorce on July 1, because that’s six-months after the petition was filed and you were served.
Is the divorce contested or uncontested?
There are several things that you and your spouse must decide when getting a divorce. All couples will need to figure out how they’re dividing their marital property. If a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement was involved, this will be much easier, although the court will still evaluate the agreement to ensure that’s fair for both parties.
If you and your spouse have children, you’ll need to determine what type of custody arrangement you’ll have, if one of you will be paying child support and if so, how much.
Even if you and your spouse are working together to make the divorce go as smoothly as possible, you should each still have your own attorneys to represent you during the process.
An uncontested divorce is the fastest and most convenient option, provided you aren’t concerned about your spouse hiding any of his assets. If the court finds that your agreement is fair for both sides, it will approve the divorce after any mandatory waiting period is over. Keep in mind that you can use that waiting period to set up your divorce agreement.
If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, then you’ll have a contested divorce and both of you will need to go to court. The divorce court may require you both to work with a mediator first to see if you can figure out an agreement that you’re both happy with.
Going to trial can extend the divorce process considerably. This is especially true when one party attempts to drag out the proceedings through unnecessary motions or other methods.
Estimating How Long Your Divorce Will Take
If you have an uncontested divorce, you can get an idea of how long it will take by checking your state’s laws. Your divorce attorney can explain these to you and likely provide you with a general idea of how long the divorce will take. To move your divorce along as quickly as possible, you’ll want to have a skilled divorce attorney to represent you. Your attorney can help you negotiate with your spouse in a contested divorce so you two can reach an agreement.
Divorce proceedings are never easy. Even when both spouses agree to end their marriage and make it a point to end things on a good note, there are always some feelings left over that make the process a bit more difficult. It’s never an easy situation, and most people are going to face some moments of difficulty in this process. It’s difficult, and most people are upset at some point during the process. It’s made much more difficult when your spouse is missing and you want to file for divorce. What makes this difficult is we don’t know why your spouse is missing.
– Missing in action: This is a form of being missing in the middle of a war or while he or she is in the military, and it means your spouse is gone and no one knows if your spouse is still alive.
– Abandonment: Your spouse could decide to leave one day for work and simply never come home. He or she might not call, let you know where they are, or even bother with you anymore. You know or she is safe and alive thanks to many reasons, but you have no idea where.
– Missing: Your spouse is simply missing. He or she is gone, no one knows where he or she is, and there is no evidence anything happened or perhaps there is evidence there was foul play at some point.
The point is you don’t know where your spouse is, but you want to divorce this person. It could be days after your spouse goes missing, months, or even years after your spouse went missing and it’s time for you to move on with your life. How do you file for divorce while your spouse is a missing person?
Service By Publication
A court of law will not grant you a divorce from a missing spouse if you do not do everything in your power to notify the man or woman to whom you are married. This means you must do more than just call his or her mom to find out if she knows where he is. You must do whatever it takes to find your spouse. It’s slightly different when the missing spouse is someone who went missing in the military. Time typically takes the problem out of a divorce in this instance, and sometimes your spouse is presumed dead after enough time has passed and your marriage is terminated by this.
If your spouse is just missing from your life, however, you must do all you can to notify him or her of the divorce. You file the paperwork with the court, and the court then asks you to do a few more things. The court is going to ask that you file the divorce notice in the local paper as well as in the paper where his or her family lives and even in other locations if there is any suspicion your spouse might be in a certain area.
Call an Attorney
It’s much easier to divorce a missing spouse when you have an attorney on your side. There is a lot that goes into this, and your attorney knows how to handle it and make it work. It’s helpful to have someone on your side in this matter, but the court will still grant you a divorce if you take the time to notify your spouse by handling all the requirements. It is possible to divorce a missing spouse.
The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as if the divorce is contested or uncontested, the judge assigned to the case, the county where the divorce is filed, whether the parties involved are agreeable or adversarial. Though it would be ideal in such a stressful time to know the exact timeline, it isn’t one solid answer for all cases. Divorces have been filed and finalized in six weeks to six months, and it all depends on the nature of each individual case.
The state where the petition is filed can also affect the length of time it takes to get to finalization. In New York, an uncontested or “no-fault” divorce usually takes about three months. If the divorce is contested or a “fault” divorce, it can take from nine months to one year for finalization. Even for uncontested divorce cases, there aren’t solid timelines, just average guides.
Divorce is always a more complicated and time-consuming process when there are minor children involved. Even if the parties are amicable regarding the status of the children in the marriage, there are extra documents which need to be filed, approved and finalized. If there are major assets such as property, bank accounts, and investments, these can also affect the amount of time it can take.
There are usual steps that are taken in divorce cases though not all may apply to you, and there may be extra steps depending on your case. Only your attorney can advise you regarding whether you will go through all of these steps or if any extra steps need to be taken.
General Procedural Steps In The Divorce Timeline
1. File Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
2. Summons and Petition Served to Spouse
3. Response and Counter-Petition
(Your spouse will respond to the petition of divorce. They can file a no contest, contest or not respond to the petition at all. Your attorney will advise if this occurs.)
4. Temporary Hearings
(Motions can be filed for temporary orders such as child support, parenting plans, and if necessary restraining orders against a spouse.)
(Discovery is a phase in which you can obtain information from your spouse, they can obtain information from you, as well as discover whether third parties such as possible witnesses may be entering the proceedings.)
(A mediator may be called in at this point if the parties seeking to resolve issues are unable to resolve things by themselves. A mediator is an outside party that isn’t affiliated with either party.)
(Even if both you and your spouse agree on everything regarding the dissolution of your marriage, the details of your dissolution still need to be documented and filed with the courts, and will await final approval before the last step of granting the divorce is taken.)
(If both parties and their attorneys are unable to come to an amicable agreement of all issues involved, it may be taken to the judge and a request for trial initiated. It will rest with the judge to approve final order and judgments of your divorce.)
9. Post Judgment
As you can see, it is a process that, though it does have an end, is still a process and takes time. These are only guidelines of average procedural steps and the timeline can only be given as a general one. Only your divorce attorney, after learning all of the details of your marriage and reasons for your filing, can provide more extensive details on this question as they are the best person suited to give you a more exacting timeline for finalization.
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