How Long Will My Divorce Take?
Some of the questions we hear most often relate to the length of divorce proceedings. The answer, unfortunately, varies depending on a couple’s particular circumstances. To help give you a better idea of what to expect, we’ve included an overview of the types of factors that can influence how long it takes to resolve your own divorce.
In Florida, couples are only permitted to file for divorce if at least one of the parties has lived in the state for no less than six months. If neither party satisfies this requirement, then the couple can’t file for divorce until the six months have expired.
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
One deciding factor in the length of a divorce is whether the proceedings are contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the parties don’t have to litigate their issues in a courtroom, but handle them on their own via negotiation. These kinds of proceedings tend to be resolved a lot more quickly than contested proceedings. Contested divorces involve litigation, so both parties will be required to attend a number of court hearings, exchange evidence, and argue their points of view in court, leaving the ultimate decision on issues like property division, alimony, and child custody in the hands of a judge. Because these issues are so complicated and court schedules are so busy, contested divorces tend to take a lot longer than uncontested dissolutions.
In Florida, all couples have a mandatory waiting period of 20 days, calculated from the date that the divorce petition is served to the respondent, before they can proceed with their divorce. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, as when there are extenuating circumstances or the couples have reached an agreement.
The Complexity of the Issues
Another factor that dictates how long a divorce takes is the complexity of the issues with which the couples are grappling. Generally, the more disputes there are over asset division, alimony, child custody, or child support, the longer a couple can expect their divorce to take. The reality is that more complex cases just require more mediation and potential litigation, all of which can be time-consuming and costly.
The Court’s Schedule
The court’s schedule can also influence the duration of divorce proceedings. If, for instance, a court is dealing with a backlog of cases or has a full caseload, then divorce proceedings may need to be scheduled farther out, leaving couples waiting for weeks or even months before they can officially dissolve their marriage.
Speak with an Experienced Clearwater Divorce Lawyer Today
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how long it will take to finalize a Florida divorce, there are some factors that can help give couples a better understanding of what to expect. If you’re considering divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced Clearwater divorce attorneys at Cairns Law for a realistic estimate on the duration of your divorce proceedings. We are available for both evening and weekend appointments, so feel free to call and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.