When a married couple is no longer able to make their marriage work, the next step is to finalize the end of the union by getting a divorce. The decision to divorce is never an easy one, especially in situations in which the couple has young children. Yet, sometimes a divorce is the best option for all concerned. Once you have decided to move ahead with a divorce, you may wonder how long you can expect the process to take. Everyone’s divorce is different and has unique circumstances. Therefore, you can not compare your divorce to other friends or family members who may have gone through the process.
Divorce is a legal process and you must follow the Florida rules and procedures that govern it in order to receive a divorce order. One of the most important factors that will determine how long a divorce will take is whether it is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree to the divorce and to the settlement terms.
An uncontested divorce typically averages about four months from start to finish. This includes several weeks to prepare the case and file it with the court and a wait time of a few months to have the case get to court. Because there is no disagreement between parties, this is the easiest and fastest divorce. It is also not very common. In many cases, parties can not agree to the terms of the settlement.
Just as it sounds, a contested divorce is one in which one party contests or disagrees with the proposed settlement. The couple must make efforts to resolve their dispute and come to an agreement as to the settlement terms of the divorce. Most divorce cases are initially contested. As you might expect, the process for a contested divorce is more complex. First, the respondent has 20 days after being served with divorce papers to provide an answer.
Next, both parties must file financial disclosures, which can take several months. You and your spouse must separately submit financial documents including such things as bank records, pay stubs, tax records and more. Parents who have children must take a parenting course, which you should do immediately so it will not hold up the process further.
Generally, parties will negotiate settlement terms through their attorneys. This back and forth can go on for some time. In some instances, it may be used as a delay tactic. In order to expedite the process, you may need to seek resolution through mediation. A mediator is a professional who is an expert at divorce conflict resolution. In the majority of cases, the disputes can be settled in this manner.
An initially contested divorce can take six months to complete and a fully contested divorce may take even longer. It is best to seek guidance at the start from an experienced Brevard County divorce attorney. Contact our skilled legal team at Henderson Legal Group to discuss the details of your divorce today.