Regardless of whether you are facing or initiating a divorce proceeding, you want to know how long your case will take and when you will be able to move on with your life. However, as any divorce lawyer can explain to you, the time it takes to finalize a divorce varies on a case-by-case basis.
That being said, uncontested divorces are substantially quicker than contested divorces. A typical New York uncontested divorce takes anywhere from three to nine months — depending on how soon your spouse returns the necessary documents back to you and how busy the courts happen to be.
It is virtually impossible to determine how long a contested divorce might take. Every case has its own unique facts and issues that must be handled. In addition, contested divorces usually involve a large number of emotional issues that can divert both spouses’ attention from the legal concerns that must be dealt with.
Depending on the matters you and your spouse disagree on, your case can take several months or even years.
The following two issues usually require a great deal of time for divorcing couples to settle:
- Distribution of property and assets
- Child custody
These issues often require analysis by expert witnesses who can perform rigorous evaluations and produce documented findings. Also, it is common for one spouse to dispute the report of the other spouse’s expert witness. This process alone can consume a great deal of time. Additionally, you and your spouse may disagree on alimony or spousal maintenance and child support.
Jacqueline Newman joined Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP in 1998 and is now the managing partner of the firm. Ms. Newman’s practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and also in negotiating prenuptial agreements. Read more about Jacqueline Newman.