Many people who contact Alatsas Law Firm seeking a divorce want their divorce to happen as quickly, painlessly, and affordably as possible. Yet finalizing a divorce can take just a few months or even several years depending on how complicated and messy your situation is.
Here is some information about what to expect timing-wise when you pursue a divorce and the various factors that affect how long the divorce process takes.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
The biggest factor in determining how long does a divorce take is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have come to an agreement about the division of marital property and child support, visitation, and custody if kids are involved. These couples don’t need the court to decide how these matters are handled, but they do still benefit from having their own attorneys for representation.
Contested divorces are much more complex and may require going to trial to resolve high financial stakes and advanced legal issues. Having an experienced divorce attorney is essential during a contested divorce.
The Process of Splitting Assets
The most time-consuming component of a divorce is coming to agreeable terms for splitting assets or going to court to determine these terms. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court divides marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally, rather than simply splitting the assets down the middle. You’ll need to decide who gets the house, cars, and other material possessions that you have shared throughout your marriage. These matters become much more complex is one spouse is hiding assets in a divorce.
To speed along this process, you should work together to make a list of your jointly owned possessions, assign an estimated value to those items, consider who is the most logical owner, and consult each person’s attorney for advice and input.
Waiting for a Court Date
Even if you and your spouse are working on agreeable and amenable terms to push your divorce forward, the process could be delayed for reasons out of your control. For example, waiting for a court date can be excruciating for divorcing couples who have already come to an agreement and want to speed along the process. The amount of time to get a divorce court date can take months and varies greatly among different districts and states.
Other Factors That Affect the Speed of a Divorce
Some states have a required cooling-off period, which is an amount of time that parties must wait before a divorce can be finalized. The purpose of the cooling-off period is to allow time for reconciliation, and it can range from just 20 days to six months long in some places.
Although there is no mandatory cooling-off period in New York, there are residency requirements that will apply. Since New York is a no-fault divorce state, you do not usually need to be legally separated before filing for divorce.
Help with Litigating New York Divorces
In New York, uncomplicated divorces can happen in as little as two to three months, but this is somewhat rare because of the nature of arguments and disagreements during a divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree on many important matters and are waiting for court dates as well, the divorce could be drawn out for as long as three or four years.
One of the best ways to move your divorce through the process as efficiently as possible is to hire an experienced New York divorce attorney, such as Theodore Alatsas, Esq. We have been serving clients throughout New York for over 20 years and encourage you to contact us today for a free divorce consultation.