How Long Does a Divorce Take?
When beginning the process of separating from your spouse and ultimately divorcing, many want to know how long this emotional and difficult process will take. However, there is no definite timeline for every divorce. There are many factors that can increase or decrease your timeline for your dissolution. Consulting with a Tallahassee Divorce Attorney may be able to shed some light on the process and discuss the timeline of your divorce with you.
One of the factors that can affect your divorce timeline, is if you and your spouse are agreeable on the items in question. For instance, if you and your spouse are able to discern who receives which assets and which debts, as well as the details of the parenting plan, if minor children are involved, and the waiver or payment of alimony then you will be able to file a Marital Settlement Agreement and conclude your divorce in a much more time efficient manner. Your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney will be with you to draft this Marital Settlement Agreement, in order to ensure you are protected and the agreement is legally enforceable. It is imperative to have experienced eyes review and draft these documents to ensure you are protected in the future. In most cases, all the initial paperwork and required financials, as well as the marital settlement agreement will be filed all at the same time. The Proposed Final Judgment will be sent to the judge, soon after, for review and the judge will analyze the petition, paperwork, and agreement in order to determine the factual findings necessary to grant a divorce. After review, the court will order the final judgment of divorce. This process can take a months’ time; however, this also depends on the, drafting of the agreement, filing of the paperwork as well as court’s case load. Your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney will keep in contact with the court to ensure your case is addressed in a timely manner.
If you and your partner are unable to come to an agreement, you will need to proceed through a contested divorce proceeding. For a contested proceeding, you will begin by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This will be given to a process server who will officially serve these documents on your spouse. This service must be done within 120 days, or 4 months. After service, your spouse must serve an answer within 20 days of receipt of service, as well as a counter petition if they wish. You too will then have 20 days to respond to this counterpetition. So far, your divorce may have already exceeded 5 months in time.
The next step would be to provide Mandatory Disclosure documents. These documents are financial disclosures that are required by each party to present to the other. This allows for a complete and accurate list of items that would need to be distributed between the parties. You have 45 days to file these documents, from filing the initial petition, if you are the petitioner, or 45 days from the receipt of service if you are the respondent. These documents may be complete in nature and you and your attorney may seek negotiation to find a quicker resolution to your divorce. However, after exchange of these documents, some cases may require more evidence. This may entail more discovery requests or depositions extending the timeline even further.
After gathering enough understanding and accuracy of the items in dispute, most parties will then proceed to mediation. The timeline for mediation depends upon the schedules of the mediator, the respective attorneys as well as you and your partner. Most mediators will be scheduled for weeks out from the time your attorney request their time. Finally, if you are unable to resolve your matter in mediation, you will then request a hearing before the judge. Scheduling a final hearing can extend your case months out, depending upon the case load of the court as well as scheduling conflicts with the attorneys.
The timeline of every divorce varies on many different aspects and the needs of the parties. Therefore, there is never a strict timeline that every divorce follows. Your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney will work with the with the court to ensure your case is concluded in the most time efficient manner to save you time, money, and emotional extension. Contact your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney today to begin the divorce process.
Speaking to an attorney at our Tallahassee office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5221 orcomplete an online contact formto get in touch with a member of our team today.