The question posed in the title of this post is one of the most common questions people have when they or their spouse decide to file for divorce.
Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time that it takes to divorce. However, there are certain statutes and factors that can speed up or slow down the legal process.
If both spouses consent to divorce and can work out all divorce-related matters, the process can take as little as several months. In Pennsylvania, there is a 90-day waiting period after filing the complaint before spouses may sign their consents to the divorce. After that waiting period, assuming all asset and debt issues are resolved, the divorce may be finalized.
If one spouse does not consent to divorce, it could take more than a year to resolve your divorce issues. This is because the law requires parties to complete a one-year period of separation before proceeding with a no-fault, non-consent divorce. When this year deadline expires depends upon when the parties separated.
Factors that affect these timelines
Numerous things that divorcing spouses do (or do not do) can affect the length of time it takes to divorce.
Spouses can delay the process by:
- Refusing to engage in meaningful negotiations
- Failing to complete and/or provide necesary documents
- Engaging in misconduct
They can expedite the process by:
- Working expeditiously to reach agreements regarding assets and debts
- Promptly gathering all documents requested by the court or your attorney
- Taking actions that move your case forward.
Pros and cons of a speedy divorce
While a quick resolution can spare someone the emotional toll that prolonged negotiations can have, rushing through asset and debt issues can also lead to hurried agreements that are not in your best interest financially. You should consult with an attorney so that your divorce moves at a pace that is best for you and your family.