How Long Will Your Divorce Take?

Every divorce client I meet has the same two questions: how much will it cost? and how long will it take? The answer is always the same: it depends.

The biggest factor on both counts, and the one that you and your partner have the most control over, is how you choose to proceed starting with Day One.

Let’s look at time. In my divorce practice data we found that divorce time frames from the start of the litigation to the end ranged from less than 6 months to up to 3 years.

Why is the range so wide? At first, we assumed (always dangerous) that the shorter time frames were cases that settled and the longer time frames were cases that didn’t settle. But that overlooks the fact that the vast majority of cases settled.  So we looked a little closer, asking why some cases settle quickly and others take so much longer? Are there other differences that matter? Here's what we found.

The difference seems to be because there are two ways to settle divorce issues. About half of our cases involved couples who started their divorce within the litigation process. It took them anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to complete, but for most of them, it took 1-2 years to finish their case.

For the remaining half, those whose cases lasted less than 6 months from the date the lawsuit was filed, most were settled before the litigation process began.

It’s obvious. The way you begin your divorce process can make a big difference. Exploring and achieving settlement before you begin the litigation process can save you a lot of time (maybe 18 months or more) and a lot of money.

Authored by Cynthia L. Patton, Esq. This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific legal advice.