October 3, 2023

According to Life Change Index Scale, divorce is the second most stressful event anyone can experience. It takes an average of a year to complete a divorce, but yours may differ due to prevailing circumstances. The situation is even more complicated if children are involved, with numerous assets and debts.

A divorce may be quicker if it is uncontested or if the partners can reach an amicable agreement over pertinent issues.

Requirements That Delay Divorce

State laws demand intending divorcees to present the following for their divorce to scale through:

Residency Requirements

Are you qualified to file for divorce in your current state of residency? Apart from Washington, South Carolina, and Alaska, other states expect you to be a resident for a given duration (usually three to six months)- like in Florida, before being eligible to file for divorce. The essence of this law is to bar people from hopping around from one state to the other.

If you are not yet qualified for your state’s residency requirements, you may consider another state where you are eligible or wait until you become qualified in your present location.

Cooling Off or Waiting Period

Most states implement a 30 to 90 days cooling off period for intending divorcees to help them reflect deeply on the action they are about to take.

Compulsory Separation Period

Intending divorcees must undergo a compulsory separation period (this differs from the waiting period). Couples live separately during this period (for at least six months) before the finalization of their divorce. This requirement is always for those with fault-based divorces—where a spouse is to blame for the process.

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

A fault divorce is when a partner blames the other for the divorce. Some reasons for divorce include abandonment, imprisonment, adultery, and inability to consummate the marriage. This divorce is always complicated, stressful, and time-consuming because a partner has to prove fault. A judge will determine the case’s outcome if the parties cannot agree on the blame.

Conversely, a no-fault divorce does not require either party to prove fault before the marriage dissolution.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

A divorce becomes contested when the spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, which is often the case in most divorces. A contested divorce will proceed to trial if the parties cannot break the deadlock. A trial can delay the marriage dissolution because it takes months to prepare for and complete the process.

On the other hand, the parties agree on factors like child custody and parenting, spousal support, asset, debt distribution, and child support in an uncontested divorce. When you file your divorce with an agreement already in place, it hastens the process. Most uncontested divorces do not exceed eight months.

Also, uncontested divorces happen if a partner does not respond to court summons or file answer papers. In this instance, the case gets a speedy hearing, and some states do not need any hearing in his context.

Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

Some couples enter into a prenuptial agreement of how they will part ways if their marriage does not work. They would have agreed on child custody, spousal support, and asset distribution before marriage. But in a postnuptial agreement, the couples determine the issues mentioned above after the wedding.

With one of these agreements in place, it quickens the divorce process because it eliminates any need for litigation.

Factors Affecting Divorce Timeline

Other factors affecting the duration of a divorce in the US include:

  • Difficulty in serving your spouse
  • Domestic violence
  • Unfavorable court calendars
  • Hidden assets
  • Complicated issues
  • High level of conflict

“You must agree to work collaboratively with your spouse and ensure that you both are on the same page to speed up the divorce process,” says probate and family attorney Samah T. Abukhodeir.