No one comes to the decision to divorce lightly. It’s a painful, arduous road, one that no married couple wants to walk down, but many inevitably come to. Once the decision to divorce has been made, it can then feel like an eternity to complete the divorce process – it’s easy to wonder how long a divorce will actually take. This is why so many couples are holding off on actually getting divorced – they’re choosing to legally separate or take time apart instead of making a divorce final because of all of the factors that go into getting one – time, money, emotional hurt, tough choices. However, if reconciliation isn’t going to happen, it’s best to see the divorce to completion, even if it takes a long time.
Similar to marriage laws, divorce laws are governed by each state. The federal government has nothing to do with divorce issues, so it’s important that you find out exactly what the laws in your state allow and don’t allow in the divorce process. There are some mitigating factors as to how long your divorce will take:
- Where you live
- If your state has a waiting period, or “cooling off” (where reconciliation is considered)
- If your state has a required period of separation
- If you’ve fulfilled the residency requirements
- Whether you’re filing a fault-based or no-fault divorce
- If you’re able to find your spouse for service of divorce papers
- If your divorce is uncontested, where all major issues are resolved
- If your divorce is contested, where major issue aren’t resolved, resulting in a trial
- If you have expensive assets, separate property or businesses that need to be evaluated for their net worth
- If you have serious conflicts about child custody, possibly requiring a professional evaluation of your family
- If there’s an extended period of discovery (i.e. things are hidden or kept from the other spouse)
- If your local family court has a backlog of cases
If you and your spouse have come to the decision to divorce, and both of you want it done quickly, the best way to do that is, if possible, to come to an agreement on specific issues before you start the official divorce process:
- Division of property and debt
- Custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Health and life insurance
- Any other issues that need to be resolved
The biggest issues that extend the amount of time the divorce process takes are usually the hardest to deal with: if there’s fault involved (over a no-fault divorce), if you have children, and if there are a lot of assets to be divided. Coming together, even in the midst of this type of separation, is really imperative to keeping the divorce proceedings civilized and concise. The best way to ensure that all of these factors are taken care of properly is by utilizing a solid family attorney to assist you with the legal side of each divorce matter. A family lawyer will not only uphold the legal side of the divorce, but can help you figure out the best way to handle each decision as it comes.
Finding the Right Lawyer for your divorce
If you’re in the process of deciding about a divorce, you need to find the right legal partner to help you navigate the hard waters of the divorce process. If you’re in the greater Huntsville, AL area, the Alabama Law Group is here for you. Our experienced staff can walk you through every step of the process and ensure that your new life starts on the right foot. Give us a call today!