Every Case Is Unique
Just as every marriage is different, so, too, is every divorce. How legal proceedings play out depends upon many different circumstances. One of the primary factors in how long a divorce takes is whether a divorce is uncontested or contested.
Uncontested divorces may be finalized in a matter of a few weeks if spouses are largely in agreement concerning property division, alimony, parental responsibilities, child support and other issues. Contested divorces are typically more complicated; it may take many months for terms to be agreed upon by a couple or, failing that, determined by the court.
Examining How Long The Divorce Process Takes
To get a better understanding of the amount of time that a divorce can take, it may be helpful to explore the steps that typically occur in proceedings by Florida divorce laws
These actions include:
- Filing of a divorce petition. The divorce process officially begins when one spouse submits a divorce petition to a court. Most often prepared by a lawyer, this petition outlines why a person is seeking a divorce and the financial, custodial and other terms under which he or she believes the dissolution of the marriage should occur.
- The other spouse responds. After the divorce petition is filed with the court, it is served on the non-filing spouse with a summons requiring a response. A spouse must respond to a divorce petition in Florida within 20 days of receiving the notification.
- The discovery period. At this point in the process, couples typically exchange financial documents, including reports on income on property owned. Debts and other monetary obligations are also detailed to provide a full picture of the marital finances.
- Negotiations with a spouse. After each spouse secures a lawyer, negotiations begin concerning property division, alimony and child support. This process can go quickly if there is general agreement between spouses.
- Reaching a settlement. When spouses are in agreement, terms are drawn up in a divorce settlement. A judge, upon being satisfied that both spouses understand and accept the terms, may issue a divorce decree based on these terms.
- The divorce trial. If there are outstanding issues on which no common ground can be found, both spouses will make arguments before the court in a trial. A judge will listen to arguments and ultimately determine the terms of a divorce.
The terms outlined by the judge may be appealed by either spouse, but it is uncommon that the conditions of a divorce are overturned.
Finding A Lawyer To Advocate For You
How long a divorce will take, given these stages, can depend upon many factors, including the responsiveness of each spouse, the level of contention during negotiations and the schedule of the court.
Regardless of whether you and a spouse are having difficulty coming to divorce terms or are largely in agreement, it's a good idea to secure the services of an experienced lawyer. Your legal representative can provide information on each step of how to get a divorce and offer insight on grounds for terminating a marriage.