After a Divorce Agreement Is Settled, How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

by Teo Spengler
A divorce judge has his own process and priorities.

A divorce judge has his own process and priorities.

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Don't expect to mark a date on your calendar when your family law judge will sign off on your divorce agreement. You and your spouse may have worked hard and efficiently to come to a compromise on all issues, but the court has its own review process.

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Checking the Agreement

Before the judge even looks at your divorce agreement, court personnel usually check the document to make sure you followed the requisite procedure. Each jurisdiction has its own rules about what a divorce agreement (also termed marital settlement agreement) must contain and some require a particular format. If your agreement is incomplete, it will be returned to you for amendment.

Judge's Docket

Many judicial dockets are crowded, so even after your agreement has been cleared for court review, expect a wait. If the judge has questions about the fairness of the agreement or is concerned about child support or custody issues, she may require a conference with the parties before finalizing it. Even if everything meets with her approval, the wait between filing the agreement and having it finalized can be several months. In some states, like Florida, the wait may be only a few weeks.

Statutory Waiting Period

Your divorce settlement may also be delayed by state laws requiring that a certain amount of time passes between the divorce filing and issuance of the divorce decree. For example, in California, a divorce cannot be finalized for at least six months after the case has been filed and the other spouse was served with the divorce petition.