One of the most common questions that attorneys get asked by the people who want to end their marriage is: “How long does an uncontested divorce take?”
When the two parties involved can agree on core issues that make up the terms of the divorce judgment, the process is called an uncontested divorce. The issues can be:
- Child support
- Property division
- Visitation rights
Despite the fact that the divorce is uncontested and both parties volunteer to it, each of them must ask for legal advice before agreeing to any terms.
Except for attorney, sometimes there will be a necessity for other expert’s advice. For example, when it comes to the division of spousal pensions, a financial advisor should be involved. Before the divorce is finalized, one must also ensure that his or her spouse is not withholding information about assets.
An uncontested divorce is only viable when both parties are forthcoming and committed to the divorce. The couple should also be prepared to invest a certain amount of time into filing the papers collaboratively.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take
The short answer is that the duration of proceedings depends on how long it takes to complete every step in the process.
Certain factors may delay the continuation of divorce proceedings or speed it up.
Mandatory Waiting Periods
In most states, there are mandatory waiting periods, which denotes a fixed amount of time that the couple must wait after filing the divorce petition. On average, the mandatory waiting period ranges between 30 to 90 days.
Every jurisdiction has specific reasons for the existence of mandatory waiting period laws.
In some cases, the intention is to reduce unnecessary divorces (some married couples turn to counsel or have reconciled by the time the waiting period is over).
Other states justify these laws by encouraging parents to get used to co-parenting and give them time to make the necessary arrangements to make the transition easier for the kids.
Steps Involved in Getting an Uncontested Divorce
In order to proceed with an uncontested divorce, the person requesting the dissolution of the marriage must file a Summons with the court.
It is required that the Summons be served on the other party as well, who will be referred to as the defendant.
If the service of the Summons is accepted and an Affidavit is signed by the defendant, the relevant divorce papers are immediately filed with the court.
The defendant will have 20 days to reply. In case there’s no reply from the defendant, the plaintiff’s legal representation will be able to file the divorce papers with the court.
The defendant is given the option to sign the papers in the presence of a notary public. Doing so will stipulate that he or she does not wish to complicate the process by contesting the divorce. In that case, the papers are also signed by the plaintiff before being filed with the court.
Conflict in the Divorce
The spousal conflict is usually related to the question “how long does an online divorce take?”. In most cases, an uncontested divorce can be finalized once the jurisdiction’s waiting period is over (provided that the spouses have agreed on all relevant issues).
It takes much longer to finalize the divorce when it is contested.
This is the situation when there’s a disagreement between spouses on certain issues such as division of property, custody of the children, or child support. Two opposing parties must negotiate and come to an agreement, a complicated process that can last several months.
If the disputes go to trial, resolution might be delayed even longer.
The Complexity of the Divorce
Difficult divorces tend to take longer to be resolved.
Partners might disagree on parental rights, business ownership, division of property, and other issues. Until there’s an agreement on every issue and details have been hashed out, the process can’t move forward.
Complex divorces require the contestants to share more personal information in order to get the full picture of marriage and get the idea of what the compromise should be. There may be expert evaluators, parental investigation, hospital visits, and forensic accounting involved.
Filing Divorce Papers with the Court
As soon as the divorce papers are signed and notarized, or, alternatively, it is past the deadline for the defendant to respond, the process can move forward by filing the papers with the court clerk’s office in the county of the plaintiff’s residence.
As soon as the divorce files are filed with the court, the question of “How long does an uncontested divorce take?” doesn’t depend on any of the parties involved. The uncontested divorce will be finalized in six weeks to 12 months’ time.
The processing time for an uncontested divorce depends on the area of your residence. The lawyer or the court clerk’s office might be able to give you a better estimate of how long your uncontested divorce will take.
As soon as divorce judgment gets the signature, there may be a certain time period that prevents the divorced couple from marrying again. During this time, either person involved will be able to contest the divorce judgment. Your legal attorney can help you determine whether this provision is applicable to your divorce.
In summary, getting a quick divorce is achievable.
However, it is recommended to have legal representation to counsel you during this process.
Hiring an attorney won’t hinder the process, it might even help by avoiding problems and ensuring that there are no unnecessary delays in the processing of your case.