Time is precious. It is therefore not surprising that most people involved in legal disputes are concerned about how long their case will take to resolve. Unfortunately, even the most straightforward cases can take a significant amount of time to wind their way through the legal system. Divorce cases are not unique in this respect. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to avoid having your divorce process last longer than is necessary.
The amount of time that your divorce will take to resolve will depend primarily upon two factors. The first factor is your priorities and the second factor is your spouse’s priorities. Priorities primarily influence the divorce process because they determine whether something is worth fighting about. If you and your spouse fundamentally agree about all major issues related to property division and child custody, your divorce will resolve relatively quickly. If you and your spouse fundamentally disagree on any important issues, your divorce will take longer to resolve.
Not all “fights” should be avoided. If you truly value something and feel it is worth fighting for, please discuss this matter with your attorney. For example, if you truly desire to maintain ownership of your marital home or you believe it is important to have primary custody of your child, you may need to fight for this worthy priority.
If you believe that you and your spouse can potentially work through your differences, you and your attorney may choose to pursue alternative dispute resolution. This approach will likely resolve more quickly than a flatly contested approach will and it may allow you and your spouse to move forward more peacefully.
However, if your spouse refuses to work through your differences with you, then you may need to contest your differences in court. There is nothing “wrong” with this approach, it simply tends to take longer and generally costs more than a less contested approach does.
Some divorces take months to finalize, while others can take years to resolve. Determining what your priorities are and whether those priorities are worth the wait will largely influence how long yours will take. If you have specific questions about your divorce’s potential timeline, please consult an experienced family law attorney.