Arons & Solomon | March 15, 2022 | Divorce
By the time couples are considering divorce, there is no doubt that they are ready to get it over with as quickly as possible. However, the legal process itself can take longer than most people would like due to various reasons.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?
Even the simplest of divorces can take time, particularly if there are children involved. The most streamlined divorce is one that is uncontested, meaning the parties are in agreement not only with the divorce but also the terms of the divorce. Even in those cases, there are basic procedures that have to be followed and documents that must be prepared and submitted to the court before the divorce can be approved. Having the parties in agreement on all issues will no doubt be key to the swiftest possible resolution.
What if the Divorce is Contested?
However, when the parties do not agree, the process will inevitably take much longer; the issues will need to be either resolved through negotiation, mediation, or litigation (the judge decides). In between, there is a discovery process, a period of mandatory disclosure where each side is entitled to various financial records and documents of the other so that they can fairly determine equitable distribution.
The attorney and staff will spend some time getting to know their client and their client’s needs given their current situation. Are the parties separated but still living under the same roof? Are they living in different residences? Who is paying for the expenses related to each home? What is their plan for visitation and time-sharing for the children if there are children involved? What are their goals with respect to the division of assets and liabilities? Is the spouse entitled to alimony or not?
An experienced attorney will sit with you and determine the answers to these questions so they can advise what reasonable expectation is based on your particular circumstances and what the law allows. This of course can take time; however, an experienced family attorney will do everything they can to move things along in an expedient way if there is no strategic reason for a delay (which might be the case in some situations).
Oftentimes there is a delay in gathering all these necessary documents and without them, it is difficult to proceed in gauging what assets and liabilities exist, among other issues. Once they receive the documents, the attorney will need to review and discuss them with their client in order to prepare the best strategy for their case, to answer any questions related to the documents, and determine the proper distribution of assets and liabilities.
What Other Issues Can Prolong a Divorce?
Besides financials, there may be issues related to time-sharing, custody, and visitation that need to be addressed. If the parties are in disagreement or one party is denied any contact by the other parent, an experienced lawyer can file a motion or petition for temporary relief to allow some time-sharing or visitation while the divorce is pending. A motion to seek any kind of relief prior to trial typically requires that the parties confer, or discuss, the matter to see if a resolution could be reached without the need for a court hearing. If a hearing is needed, it has to be coordinated between the attorneys for each party which also can cause a delay depending on their availability.
The judicial calendar or backlog of cases can also affect how long it takes to get a hearing or to finalize a divorce. Particularly in this era, many court dockets have an incredible backlog and lead to long waits to get a hearing or a trial in a divorce proceeding. While some courts have adopted practices that include some virtual options, this is not always the case.
Should I Contact an Attorney About my Divorce?
It is important to speak with a local attorney who is familiar with the court’s current practices and will do all they can to move your divorce along as quickly and smoothly as possible while keeping in mind their client’s best interests and the best legal strategy for their situation.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule an appointment. to schedule a free consultation with our team.