Time Frame Between Divorce Agreement & Final Divorce

by Angie Gambone
You aren't officially divorced until you appear before a judge.

You aren't officially divorced until you appear before a judge.

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When you and your spouse sign a divorce agreement, the agreement itself becomes binding even though you aren't officially divorced. You aren't divorced until a hearing in front of a judge. The time between signing the agreement and the final divorce hearing varies among the states but usually takes less than two months.

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Serving the Complaint

A divorce agreement, a type of contract, resolves all issues in your marriage. Your agreement is not binding until it's signed by both you and your spouse. Once both of you sign the divorce agreement, one of you must file for divorce. The person filing for divorce is called the plaintiff. After the plaintiff files for divorce, he sends the divorce papers to his spouse and she mails back a form called an Acknowledgment of Service. The time frame varies depending on how long it takes your spouse to send back this form, but most states give deadlines of 25 to 30 days.

Uncontested Hearing

Once your spouse sends back the Acknowledgment of Service, your case is ready for an uncontested divorce hearing. The court schedules the hearing on the next available date, usually within two months, though sometimes it may be scheduled within a week or two. Only the person who filed for divorce, the plaintiff, needs to attend the hearing. On the date of the hearing, a judge finalizes the divorce.