Divorce can be a very difficult process. There are a lot of things to think about and a whole lot of paperwork to deal with. 

And additional paperwork, hassle and stress are added to the mix when the divorce is more complicated than a simple uncontested one.

At the end of the process, the key document that needs to be agreed to and signed off on is the divorce decree. The decree is the official document that grants your divorce.

However, how long after the divorce papers are signed is it final? Does it happen immediately or is there still a waiting period? Read on to find out.

How Long After Divorce Papers Are Signed Is It Final?

The day your divorce decree is signed by the judge, your divorce is final. However, there is no standardized time frame in getting to that point and finalizing the divorce. There are a number of factors that may determine how long this process will take. 

What Factors Affect My Length of Divorce

The main factor that will affect the finalization of your divorce after divorce papers are signed is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. 

Here’s an overview of the differences between an uncontested divorce and contested divorce. 

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Basically, an uncontested divorce is a divorce wherein both spouses agree upon all divorce terms. There are no issues on child support, child custody, marital property division, alimony or spousal support. This is a result of both spouses having come into agreement. 

Uncontested divorces are easier and quicker to resolve than contested divorces. That is because there is a smaller amount of paperwork to process and little interpersonal issues to solve.

On the other hand, a contested divorce is a divorce where both parties are in disagreement on one or more issues about the divorce. These issues may be the one mentioned above such as child support, child custody, marital division of property, etc. 

Because of that, contested divorce tends to have more complex processes and paperwork to go through. They tend to be more expensive as well. 

Okay, so with that out of the way, let’s compare how long it takes to finalize divorce after the divorce papers are signed based on the aforementioned factors. 

The Time It Takes To Finalize A Divorce From Initial Filing

From the day your sign papers filing your divorce, the length of time it takes to finalize it will vary quite a bit. The average amount of time it takes is about 60 days.

In an uncontested divorce you must wait for 20 days for a hearing once your divorce papers are signed and served to your spouse. Even if your spouse agrees to waive service, you must still wait 20 days if you are in Washington state, for example. 

However, the length differs from state to state. In Monroe, North Carolina it will take 30 days. And this process cannot be sped up even if the divorce is uncontested. 

As for contested divorce, it will likely take longer. It may even take a year or more before your divorce is finalized when the divorce is contested. That is because the process of collecting evidence as well as other things like coming up with an argument will take some time. 

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