A common question clients ask when beginning a divorce is, “How long is this going to take?” While there is a range of possibilities and no definitive timeline for all divorces, there are some factors that will have a definite impact on the timeline.
Contested or Uncontested Divorce
When spouses have reached an agreement on the substantive aspects of their divorce, they will likely not need much intervention from their attorneys, the court, or outside parties to aid in negotiation. It is much quicker to memorialize an agreement and process it through the Court than to have to negotiate all aspects of the case. Missouri has a waiting period of 30 days for a petition to be on file before the Court can enter a Judgment, and Kansas has a waiting period of 60 days. If there is an agreement at the time the divorce is filed, a divorce can often be finalized close to the expiration of the waiting period, which saves both parties money and time.
If spouses can communicate with minimal conflict, this often leads to quicker, more amicable interactions between the two. Maintaining a low level of conflict is one way to aid in the speed of your case. Parties that tend to fight over every aspect of their case will likely prolong the conclusion of their case.
Size and Complexity of the Marital Estate
The more assets a couple has, the more time is needed to track down documentation, exchange discovery, complete valuations, and negotiate the division of the property and debts. This may be outside of your control, but it is certainly a factor in determining the length of time for resolving your divorce.
Child Custody Issues
If the couple has minor children, there are decisions that need to be made regarding custody, parenting time, child support, etc. that all can take time. As mentioned earlier, if the parties are unable to agree on these matters, additional time may be needed for the Court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem for the children or for the parties to complete a custody evaluation, a psychological evaluation, or other therapeutic processes that affect the parenting issues.
A factor outside the control of the parties and their attorneys is the case load the court in your county is facing. Every county and every judge has a different workload, and some courts have longer waiting times than others to get in for a hearing or a trial.
Strategies for Expediting Your Divorce
While at times difficult, one of the biggest things you can do to help move your divorce along is be cooperative with your spouse. By coming to agreements on your own, you both save time and money. It is also important to be diligent in communication with your attorney. Answering calls and emails and providing information in a timely manner is always helpful in the work your attorney is doing on your case.
A divorce can be a long, stressful process most want to wrap up quickly. A family law attorney can help you approach your divorce in an efficient manner to help save you time and worry.
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