Should a Divorce Take Five Years?

by Teo Spengler
Even a speedy divorce process can feel like it's taking too long.

Even a speedy divorce process can feel like it's taking too long.

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While many states impose a minimum period between an initial divorce filing and a final court order, none set an outside limit. As long as the spouses are actively litigating marital issues, the court lacks authority to dismiss the case. Sometimes, a divorce drags on longer than the marriage it seeks to end, but this is the exception -- not the rule.

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Time Frame for Divorce

How long a divorce action takes partly depends on the state you file in. State laws vary on the minimum amount of time a couple must wait before a divorce becomes final, although, generally, the required waiting period is measured in months, not years. In addition, even if the waiting time has passed, getting an early trial date is not always easy. Some state courts are so backed up that divorce trials are scheduled many months in advance.

Factors That Encourage Resolution

Spouses can speed up the divorce process if both are interested in doing so. Months can be saved if the respondent spouse accepts service of the divorce paperwork instead of avoiding it. Further, it will save time if the spouses agree on divorce issues, since divorce does not require a trial. If a marital settlement agreement has all the required information, the judge's task is simplified and it is easier and faster for the judge to make the divorce final.