How Long Does It Take To Get Divorced?

How Long Does It Take To Get Divorced?

Q. My biggest concern with getting a divorce is that it may take too long. I have heard of divorces that take over a year. Can this happen to me?

A. Every divorce is very different. There are many circumstances that can arise that can change the length of time your divorce will take. For example, if children are involved, it is possible that the divorce could take twice as long.  

Q. What is the quickest my divorce can be completed?

A. A judge will not sign off on any final paperwork until 60 days have passed since you have served your spouse. Even if you submit everything to the judge in a week, nothing will be completed until that 60-day mark. Keep in mind that the 60 days do include weekends and holidays.

Q. What can speed up my divorce? I want to be done quickly.

A. The easiest way to speed up the divorce is for you and your spouse to agree on everything. If you file your Petition and your spouse does not contest any of the issues, a consent decree can be drafted up and submitted to the court without any court intervention.

Another way that the divorce can be done quickly is if your spouse does not respond to your Petition at all. In that case, you can request that a default divorce decree be entered. Again, this means that there is no contest and very little, if any, court intervention.

Q. What is the longest my divorce can take?

A. There is no set time that a divorce must be completed by. However, if a judge notices that a divorce has been sitting in the system for close to a year, a hearing will likely be set to try and finalize any outstanding issues. The court may also give you dismissal dates, which require you to take some action. If you do not take the action, the case could be dismissed in its entirety.

Q. Do I need to serve my spouse with the Petition by any certain time?

A. Yes. If you do not serve your spouse within 120 days of filing the Petition, there is a very good chance your divorce will be dismissed. However, if you are having issues serving your spouse, or he/she is evading service, you can always ask the court to extend your dismissal date to provide you with additional time to try to serve him/her.

Also, keep in mind that until you serve your spouse, the 60-day time frame will not begin.

Q. If I have served my spouse, how long do they have to respond?

A. If they are located in Arizona, they have 20 days, including weekends and holidays, to respond. If they are located outside of Arizona, they have 30 days to respond. If they have not responded within that time frame, you can begin the default procedure at that point.

Q. What are some things that could delay my divorce?

A. Obviously if you and your spouse cannot reach any agreements, this will significantly delay the divorce. There may also be a number of third-party actions that could occur. For example, you may be required to go to a parenting conference or an alternative dispute resolution, which is like mediation. You might also have third parties, such as best interest attorneys, appointed to your case to investigate any child issues that may be happening. All of these things could slow down the divorce, as they take time to complete.

There are many other things that could delay the divorce. For example, a hearing might get continued due to a conflict or emergency. Depending on the judge’s calendar, this could add months to your divorce. There might be discovery and disclosure disputes. If your spouse is not providing you with the correct documentation, there may be an extensive research project occurring.

Always be prepared for something to come up. Most divorces do not end in 60 days. It is not always the case that both parties are going to agree to everything.