How Long Will My Divorce Take?
Potential clients often ask how long the divorce process will take. This is a difficult question to answer but there are a few general guidelines we can follow.
First, uncontested divorces usually move more quickly than contested divorces. In an uncontested divorce, one party hires an attorney at the Bowes Law Group to prepare a marital settlement agreement and all of the accompanying documents. In all but the most complex cases, we can usually have these documents ready for our client’s review within days after the receipt of a completed questionnaire detailing the terms of the agreed upon settlement. We then review that settlement agreement with our client.
Once the settlement agreement has been reviewed and finalized, we send it to the other party, requesting that he or she sign and return it. Once we receive the signed agreement, we prepare the necessary paperwork and file it with the court. The case will be assigned to a judge. We then contact the judge for a brief hearing to finalize the divorce. If everything goes smoothly, an uncontested divorce can take as little as a month to complete. This largely depends on how quickly our clients return paperwork to us and how many changes are required by the parties.
Contested divorces typically take longer to complete than uncontested. In a contested divorce, one party files a petition for dissolution of marriage. The other party has twenty days to respond. The parties then exchange financial disclosures and oftentimes request specific documents from each other which are necessary to properly evaluate the case. In Hillsborough county, the judges require periodic status conferences to ensure that the cases are moving forward.
Typically these conferences begin two to three months after the case is filed and continue every month or two for the duration of the case. In most cases, mediation is scheduled after the initial exchange of documents, usually within two to three months of the initial filing of the case. Many cases settle at that mediation. If a case doesn’t settle, the parties may have additional discovery requests, require experts to evaluate various aspects of cases and may require temporary relief hearings to resolve disputes which arise during the course of litigation.
At the Bowes Law Group, we work to ensure that our cases move forward as expeditiously as possibly. Divorce is often a stressful and expensive process, which should not be extended by unnecessary delays. If you have any questions about this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.