This is one of the most popular questions that I am asked as a divorce attorney. People really want to know a time-line. When are things going to happen. How long am I going to be married to this (fill-in-the-blank)? Sometimes, they even have another wedding planned an on the calendar and they are just trying to squeeze in a divorce before the next “big day.”
Giving an answer to this question is pretty difficult. There are lots of things that play into determining how long it will take to finalize your divorce. Some of these factors are: what are the issues in your case, are you filing based on fault or on the no-fault ground for divorce, do you and your spouse have any children together, has your spouse hired an attorney, who is that attorney, and on and on.
Another large factor that plays into this equation is the Court docket. Many court dockets are set out several months in advance, so if you were to request a hearing today, it could be four or five months before the hearing is set.
If there are issues in your case such has who gets the marital home, how to divide up the retirement accounts, who will have custody and visitation of the children, etc. Many times, people believe they have all of the issues in their case worked out and settled before they meet with a divorce lawyer, but many times they had an agreement in theory, but when you begin to look at how practical their agreement is, it becomes nearly impossible to execute it. If you are filing for a divorce on a fault-based ground (adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, desertion) then you will have a mandatory waiting period of 90 days following the filing of the divorce complaint before you can have a final hearing. There is no waiting period for a final hearing based on the no-fault ground other than the proper time for the defendant to file an answer which is 30 days from the date of service of the Summons and Complaint.
So, in broad generalities, It could take from about 60 days to over one year based on the specifics of your case to finalize your divorce matter.