When you get married, divorce is not something you want as the endgame. But, as we all know, divorces are pretty common.

If you are planning to get a divorce, you’ve got a lot going through your head. And you have a lot of questions you want/need answered.

A common one is “how long does a divorce take?”.

You probably want it to be as quick as possible. You want to move on. And you want to be done with the lawyers, the unanswered questions and maybe even the sight of your soon-to-be ex.

We wish we had better news for you but, truth be told, it tends to be a long, lengthy process. That is especially true if the divorce is contested. 

With that said, let’s take a look at how long the process takes, on average. 

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

The answer to that question is not easy. 

In some states, it can be in as little as 2 weeks. On the high end, a friend’s parents had a messy divorce that dragged on for 5 years (it was official much sooner than that, it was the fighting over assets, etc. that dragged on and on).

To be able to know how long a divorce takes, there are many factors that you have to consider.

One of the big factors is whether it is contested or not. Another is the state where you live or will be having the divorce. Also, it depends on if it is a fault-based or no-fault divorce. 

So let us go over how these factors will affect the length of this process.

Cooling off periods 

Depending on the state where the proceedings will take place, there is usually a cooling period. This is the amount of time you have to wait until you can file for divorce. Or, also, between when you file and the divorce can become official.  

Not all states have a cooling period. For those that do, here are a few examples of how long the cooling off periods are. 

  • California – 6 months +1 day
  • Idaho – 20 days without children, 90 days with children
  • Tennessee – 60 days without children, 90 days with children

Fault-based or no-fault

Like what the name suggests, fault-based divorce is a one where you can fault the other party for what they have done. A no-fault party does not need you or your partner to blame one another for the cause of the divorce.

No-fault divorce will typically result in a shorter process from beginning to end than ones where one spouse blames the other.

Serving the papers

Based on whether your spouse wants to be served with documents or not, as well as how you will serve the documents, will affect the length of the process.

Contested or uncontested

A contested divorce is where you and your partner cannot agree on one or more issues. An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, means that you and your spouse agree on every issue and there is nothing more to dispute. 

The former will usually take longer than the latter due to additional fighting, litigation, etc. 

Disputes over the assets

This is a situation where one of the parties involved things the other is hiding assets. Or there is a dispute over the assets. This will definitely make things take longer.

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