We all know divorce can take a long time, but exactly how long remains a common question. The short answer is, it varies. Every situation is different. Simple cases can be over fairly quickly, while complex ones can drag on and on for what feels like forever.
One of our founding partners, Rick Jones, regularly appears on the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show, where he addresses common family law issues. One listener recently emailed this very question. He wants his divorce to be over as quickly as possible, but wonders how long it will take?
It’s a good news/bad news situation.
Listen to the answer below:
“Well here I am, facing divorce, and the one thing I haven’t heard you cover is how long the whole process takes? Honestly, I just want to get it over with and move on.
“What is the average time I should expect to be dealing with the courts and paperwork?”
Danny: “That’s a damn fine email there. I’m interested to know the answer myself,
Rick: “First of all I want to give him a shout back as well in terms of the thank you on this. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the forum, to be able to give info like this that people need to have, even before they make the call to the attorney. Now on to the question.
“How long a case takes is really going to be dependent on how long either:
- It takes to reach a settlement between the two people, or,
- Go to ultimately a decision, meaning trial.
“At the start of any case, we’ll use Washington as an example, there is a 90-day waiting period. You can have everything agreed on day one when the case is filed, you do have to wait the 90 days. So the quickest a divorce can take is 90 days.
“Now, beyond that, King County schedules a trial right up front. The day you file they schedule a trial for about eleven months down the road.
“So if your case doesn’t reach a settlement, through all the tools, mediation, etc, and it’s still open, then that trial date approaches and ultimately that’s the end of your case. Even though it’s a judge-made
Sarah: “Did you say eleven months?”
Rick: “Yeah, and that’s only if the original trial date is the one that stands. It’s not uncommon for one or both sides to seek an initial continuance, and it’s commonly granted by the court, which would push it off another four to six months. So it’s not uncommon for a contested divorce to last up to two years.”
Related Reading: Pros and Cons of Divorce Mediation