Reasons Why A Divorce Can Take So Long

Posted on: 6 July 2017

If you and your spouse have recently split up, then you may be heading towards divorce. Divorce is often difficult and many people become concerned when they realize that the divorce process takes much longer than expected. Since the divorce process is a lengthy one, individuals often question exactly why this is the case. If you want to learn a little bit about this and why it may take so long, then keep reading to understand a few reasons. 

The Divorce Is Contested

You probably understand the term contested if you and your spouse do not agree on the exact terms of the divorce. Contested means that you do not agree on all issues, and this is an extremely common issue. When you and your spouse do not agree on certain things, you will typically need to go through the traditional divorce process with court proceedings and a judge overseeing the case. 

If you have learned from friends and family members that they have gone through something called a "simplified divorce," then this is a lot quicker. However, this type of divorce, as well as a "simplified dissolution" or a "fast track divorce," is completed quite quickly. You should understand that these sorts of divorces are expensive and can cost as much as $10,000. The cost is usually split between you and your spouse, and you can use the same attorney. You will often need to complete mediation as well, so this does mean that you should agree on all or almost all points before starting the fast track process. 

You should understand that only certain states have a "fast track" option. In fact, certain states, like California, do not allow for divorces that are over in a time period shorter than six months. This may mean that you might have to wait even if the details of the divorce are agreed upon. Also, some states only allow you to file for divorce if you have lived in the state for a specific amount of time. For instance, you need to live in the state of California for at lease six months before filing for divorce. 

The Court Allows For Longer Time Frames

Court proceedings and timeframes for court dates are set up so that all parties are able to collect documents and share them with attorneys on either side of the divorce. Courts will often allow several months for both the gathering and sharing of information. The timeframe can then be extended. This may be necessary if older documents need to be gathered through banks and other institutions. 

Legal requests called motions and hearings are also heard by the court and require specific scheduling for the judge to hear arguments. It can take some time for a single hearing to be scheduled, and several are often required before a divorce is settled. 

Another factor that can prolong a divorce through the court is the fact that judges will typically ask married couples to work out differences outside the court setting. Settlement meetings and mediation are typically scheduled so that discussions can take place. Judges will give couples a specific timeframe to work out the details before the initial court dates are set. 

You should understand that one of the reasons why judges will ask couples to go through mediation first is that divorce courts are extremely busy. If court cases can be reduced, then judges can alleviate the burden on the court system. If mediation is something that you think you want to try, then a judge can set temporary support, visitation, and custody orders so that the process can begin. 

To learn more, contact a divorce attorney like Karen Robins Carnegie PLC.


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