How Long is This Going to Take?
One of the questions our clients inevitably ask is, “How long is my divorce going to take?” Unfortunately, there is no single answer. Divorces can be resolved relatively quickly or take an extremely long time, depending on a number of factors unique to each couple’s situation.
Potential areas of contention
The most common issues that can extend the time between initiation of divorce proceedings and settlement include the following:
- Contentious nature of the divorce
- Lack of prenuptial agreement or challenge to existing agreement
- Fault versus no-fault proceedings
- Volume of assets to be divided
- Whether children are involved
- Criminal allegations against one or both spouses (i.e., abuse, drug use)
Every divorce is different, with some couples able to reach agreements on these and other hot-button issues without much difficulty, while others fight over every letter of their divorce decree.
For example, prenuptial agreements are intended to spell out exactly how a couple will divide their assets, support their children and provide support to one or the other spouse. In theory, couples who have prenups should sail through their divorces, since the terms of settlement were already agreed upon at the start of their marriage. However, one spouse may claim he or she was coerced into the prenuptial agreement, or that circumstances have changed so dramatically the terms are no longer equitable.
Even in the case of a no-fault divorce, which was enacted by New York State in 2010 with the intention of speeding up proceedings, issues may arise that lead to protracted divorces.
Because divorces are as unique as the couples initiating them, no honest divorce law firm can state with absolutely certainty that your case will take X amount of time to resolve.