How Long Can a Divorce Go On?

There is no easy way to estimate how long a complicated divorce can go on for, as it varies depending on the unique circumstances of each case. A contested divorce will generally take longer than an uncontested divorce. Just as a divorce with significant assets or substantial debt will take longer than a divorce with limited assets and debts.

While it is possible for a very simple divorce to be finalised within a few months, other divorces can go on for a very long time. Here are a few guidelines to help you with the how, when, and where of divorce.

A Contested Divorces

A contested divorce is one in which the husband and wife cannot agree on some or all of the issues. This might entail both parties fighting for custody of the children or disagreeing about a parenting schedule. The parties might also disagree on the division of certain bank accounts.

Whatever the reason, if divorcing couples cannot agree on certain issues, then a judge must collect evidence in order to make a decision. This can go on for much longer than an uncontested divorce because of the significant back and forth that occurs between parties.

The Different Phases

With contested divorces, the court generally sets forth a schedule of various phases that must be completed. The initial phase is the information-gathering phase, where the attorneys collect documents and learn about the background of the marriage.

This helps them prepare for the discovery phase. This is when each side is allowed to request documents from the other side to gather all of the evidence. The next phase is the settlement phase where the parties will be encouraged to try to negotiate and reach a settlement.

If all else fails, then the trial phase is all that is left. Witnesses are called and evidence is provided to the judge, with the judge ultimately making the decision.

Getting Temporary Orders

While the divorce process is ongoing, you may have to get temporary documents in place for how things will work for the time being. For example, a judge might order a husband to pay temporary child support until the divorce is finalised.

After the Trial

Even after a trial, many divorce cases do not automatically end. If a case is complicated, it can go on for a long while before the judge makes his/her ruling. Although it is possible to be divorced on the day of your trial, in most circumstances, a divorce can carry on for months after this time.

If you are still unsure about how long a divorce can go on for or want more information about the divorce process, contact our offices for help and guidance from our team of professional attorneys. We have been working in family law for a long time, and know the ins and outs of the law, so you don't have to worry about wrapping your head around all the new terms and processes.