How long will an uncontested divorce normally take?
The length of time needed to complete final conventional divorce proceedings often depend upon a number of different circumstances and can potentially last a long time. However, an uncontested divorce might be concluded over a shorter duration. The following is a brief piece discussing the tenets of an uncontested divorce, as well as the factors that determine how long such an action would take to complete.
What Is An Uncontested Divorce?
This type of legal split occurs when a divorcing couple agrees to separate without the need for a judge or court to decide how to resolve matters such as dividing assets, determining if one spouse will have to pay alimony payments to the other, awarding child custody and visitation rights and deciding who will retain ownership of mutually owned properties. That said, an often overlooked factor in measuring the duration of most uncontested divorces is the time necessary to reach such understanding.
Just because the couple will not need legal intervention to resolve specific matters does not always mean such compromise was agreed upon over a short period of time. The negotiation process by which the splitting couple came to a mutual understanding on pertinent matters can be fast in amicable separations, but may last several months to more than a year in more contentious and/or complicated situations.
How Does An Uncontested Divorce Become Official?
From a legal standpoint, the divorcing couple will be required to complete a Marital Settlement Agreement. This document enters into official record how the couple has decided to resolve the crucial, aforementioned issues. Once the Settlement Agreement is signed, one of the separating parties must file a Complaint for Divorce against the other separating party in the particular state and/or municipality they reside in. After this step is completed, divorce papers are then served to the non-filing spouse. That individual is then typically given a period of around a month to answer the complaint. Should no objections be voiced in wake of the complaint, an uncontested divorce can be granted.
Child custody matters are of particular importance in uncontested divorces. The courts will want to ensure the best interests of the children of divorcing parents are represented by any uncontested agreement. Therefore, many courts require a child custody arrangement statement that is approved by a judge be part of any Marital Settlement Agreement.
How Long Does It Take For An Uncontested Divorce To Become Official?
The amount of time necessary varies from place to place. Certain states impose waiting periods from when a complaint is filed before granting a divorce decree. Courts often put forth this waiting period to ensure the separating parties are truly intent on divorcing. In some cases, a divorce ruling might be handed down as early as a day after such a waiting period ends. However, in the majority of instances, that duration ranges anywhere from several weeks to several months. Moreover, in some states, the waiting period could last up to a year and a half. In addition, specific courts might also require the divorcing parties to participate in a final hearing, which occurs in a courtroom.
Can he file for a divorce if I’ve already filed and served him papers?
Divorce is rarely friendly or easy. It can also be confusing, and definitely complicated. Some people might try to overload the court with paperwork to slow down the divorce when they don’t want it. Some might think ignoring it will slow the process. Others might think that the only way to have their concerns heard is to file their own petition for divorce.
Can he file for divorce after I’ve filed?
Technically, if the two of you are not on speaking terms and he did not know that you were going to file, he may be able to file his own petition. The chances of this happening are slim, but if the clerk’s records are not yet updated to reflect your filing, his paperwork could slip through.
However, if that were to happen, once it was noted that there were two filings for the same marriage, his would be dismissed. He would need to respond to your petition.
You can avoid this by serving him as quickly as possible once you’ve filed. New York law indicates that you have 120 days from the date you file to serve him, but the more quickly you serve him, the less time he has to file his own paperwork
So, that means he can’t file after I’ve served him?
Once you’ve filed and served him, he cannot file his own petition.
This does not mean that he can’t have a say, though. Once you have served him, he has 20 days (if personally served) or 30 days (if served by any other means) to respond to your petition. He must respond to avoid a default judgment against him. A default judgment means the divorce would be granted, and the things you’ve requested would be granted (custody, support, etc.).
His response to your petition is called an answer. An answer can admit that your complaint is true, deny that your complaint is true, or say that he doesn’t have enough information to deny or admit the truth of your complaint.
If he doesn’t agree with the grounds you’ve chosen for the divorce, his answer can include a counterclaim. A counterclaim would allege his grounds for the divorce. An example would be if you claimed the grounds for the divorce is adultery (he’s cheated/cheating on you), and he files a counterclaim saying that the grounds for the divorce is abandonment (you abandoned him).
Hiring a lawyer can be the best way to ensure that you not only meet all the legal requirements in filing for your divorce, but that you serve your spouse quickly and legally. A lawyer can also ensure that you get the best possible outcome for yourself, and help you ensure that everything is done smoothly, quickly, and with as little fuss as possible. It also eliminates the need for you to familiarize yourself with every last detail of New York’s divorce laws. You can trust your lawyer to ensure that everything is done properly and as easily as possible.