If your spouse is filing for divorce, it can be overwhelming and emotional. Other than lawyers, most people don’t know about the divorce process until they’re going through it themselves.
Because divorces are emotionally taxing, preparing yourself and setting the right expectations can be helpful. To aid you in this process, here is the typical divorce timeline to expect.
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There are several factors that can influence the default divorce timeline. The state you live in plays a big factor in how long the divorce will take. In some states, you can file divorce papers and be officially divorced in a couple of months.
If your divorce is uncontested, it will move fast. But, if your divorce is contested, it could take as long as a couple of years.
Plus, some states have a “cooling off” period that must occur before you can move to the next stages of the divorce process. In California, this “cooling off” period is six months, while in New Jersey there aren’t any “cooling off” requirements.
The next step after filing the divorce papers is typically to hire a divorce lawyer. The lawyer can provide you with advice specific to your situation. They will explain the different types of divorce options you have.
You can go through a litigated divorce, a collaborative divorce, or a divorce with mediation. Litigation is the default type of divorce, but you can save time if you and your spouse can do a mediation or collaborative divorce. This involves coming to an agreement on all issues without having to go through a divorce court.
Contested divorces involving litigation take at least a year. This is because you’ll need help in figuring out alimony, child support, and asset division.
If you’ve only been married for a short period of time, it won’t take as long because your divorce assets will be small. But, longer marriages involve home ownerships, larger financial holdings in savings, 401k’s, and stocks are more complicated to figure out.
You can speed up the divorce process by working collaboratively with your spouse. If there’s any way that you can come to an agreement and do an uncontested divorce, the proceedings are faster and more direct.
Be sure to file for a divorce in a state that you meet the residency requirements. For most states, you have to live there for at least 6 months to establish residency. Knowing these requirements can save you time.
No matter the circumstances, divorces are always difficult experiences to go through. It helps to know what to expect and to have people around you that you trust.
This is a general outline of most divorce timelines and the factors that could influence the speed of your divorce proceedings. To get the best advice, consider hiring a lawyer as soon as the divorce paperwork is filed. This ensures you start on the right foot.
Keep in mind that even though it feels like the end of the world, there are still good things ahead. The future is brighter than you may think!
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