How Long Does a Divorce Take
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Assessing the time it takes to get divorced includes components such as where you reside, if your state includes a “cooling off” period or period of separation requirement, whether or not you’re filing a fault based divorce or, no fault and if it is an uncontested or contested one.

Ahead of your filing for divorce, you’ll most likely want to know how long it’s going to take. The answer is subject to a number of elements. Changing any of these elements will affect how long your divorce will take.

How Long Does is it Going to Take to Get my Divorce?

The time it takes to get a divorce is impacted by:

  • Where you reside
    • When your state has a “cooling off” period
    • When your state has a period of separation requirement
    • When you’ve met the residency conditions
  • When you’re filing a fault based or no fault divorce
  • When you can locate your spouse and have them served with divorce papers
  • When it is an uncontested divorce—where each major issue is resolved
  • When it is contested—in which you and your spouse can’t resolve each major issue, making a trial possible
  • Whether or not you have pricey assets and businesses that are required to be assessed for their net worth
  • Whether or not if you have significant conflicts about custody, possibly needing a forensic psychologist to assess the family
  • Whether you trust that there are no concealed assets
  • When your local family court is backlogged with cases

“Cooling Off” Period and Period of Separation

Whether or not you could have a somewhat quick divorce can is subject to your state and whether it has a mandated waiting or “cooling off” period. The cooling off period is the time you are required wait prior to getting divorced. This will allow you to think about reconciling or to adjust to your new situation.

If you read materials about every single state’s waiting period, you will often get different and wrong answers. How long it takes to get a divorce is subject on what the waiting period is in the state where you live.

Several states do not have waiting periods, whereas others do: California’s is a 6th month period. Tennessee’s is a 90 day period if there are children involved and a 60 day period without them.

In other states, you aren’t even able to file for divorce unless you have been separated for a specified period of time—usually 1 year. Verify with a family lawyer to find more about the state you live in’s waiting period and if you are required to be living separate and apart for a set amount of time.

Residency Conditions

Residency conditions could increase the time it takes for the divorce to be finalized. You have to meet your state’s residency conditions before you are able to file for divorce. A family lawyer can advise you of these conditions.

If Your Divorce is No Fault or Fault Based

You are able to file for a no fault divorce in every single state. No fault divorces are in which no one takes responsibility for the marriage breaking up. Many states also Let you file for divorce on the basis of fault. Meaning you can declare adultery, cruel and inhumane treatment, or other types of grounds for the divorce.

If you are trying to decrease your divorce process, filing a fault based divorce accomplishes that since you have to have evidence for divorce at trial or during litigation. Your soon to be ex could file a fault based divorce in a bid to hinder the divorce. For the most part, filing for a fault based divorce does not stop the divorce, but it will make it a lot more drawn out.

Serving Your Spouse Divorce Papers

If your spouse stays away from getting served, your divorce is going to take longer. Occasionally spouses finagle around concerning getting served with divorce papers. If this were to happen, hire a process server.

Uncontested Divorces Are Faster

Uncontested divorces will take less time since there is no trial. You and your spouse sign the needed papers, as well as a marital settlement agreement. This enables your case to move faster through the court. The judge simply needs to look at the papers, ensures they’re in order, and then awards the divorce.

Divorces that are no fault and uncontested will be the fastest way to get divorced since you both agree everything. Subject to your state, your divorce might take from 1 month to several.

Contested Divorces Take Longer

If the divorce is a contested one, it may take more time. A contested divorce, in which at least one major issue can’t be resolved, will usually entail a trial for any unresolved issues.

When you add the time for a trial to the mandated waiting period, the divorce proceedings may take more than a year.

Your County Court’s Back Log

How long do divorces take in your county? If your family or marital court has an excess of cases, the divorce is going take longer. Your case needs to get on the courts calendar prior to a judge awarding your divorce.

If there is a large population in your county, it is possible the court has a long list of cases before yours. The courts back log adds more time to the divorce.

The Matters Complexity

How long will a divorce take when your situation is complex? If the divorce case involves a lot of property, has convoluted issues about assets or visitation rights, or includes difficult custody matters, then the divorce is going to take longer than other cases.

If you can get your soon to ex to agree on such matters, then the divorce can be completed faster. Even complicated cases can be settled by marital settlement agreements and move quickly through the court.

If Your Spouse is Concealing Assets

Ensure you trust your soon to be ex has made a full disclosure about assets. If you do not trust that every asset has been disclosed, speak with a family lawyer. Whereas it will slow your divorce down, you don’t want to turn your back on assets you could be entitled to.

How Can You Hasten Your Divorce?

There are many ways to hasten a divorce. The best way is to come to an agreement with your soon to be ex on:

  • Allocation of property and debt
  • Custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Health and/or life insurance
  • Any additional matters that are required to be resolved

Be sure you satisfy your state’s residency conditions. Also be sure your divorce papers are accurate and complete, so you won’t have to do them again.

In states that have mandated waiting periods, you may be able to get a waiver if you and your soon to be ex are in agreement with it or if you prove good reason for the exemption. Speak with a family lawyer to establish steps you can take to get the divorce done correctly and swiftly.


  1. DeLoe, R. (2019, February 19). How Long Does a Divorce Take? Retrieved October 07, 2020, from

Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Arizona

Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring a divorce attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.

If you want to learn about Michelle N. Ogborne and see if she is the right attorney to represent you in your collaborative divorce in Arizona, contact us today!

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