The Various Timelines of Divorce

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“How long is this going to take?”

That’s such a common question that our office gets when someone comes in to ask about filing for or responding to an Original Petition for Divorce. Every case is different—your cousin might have been able to get hers done in a matter of weeks, but her marriage was relatively short and she had no children or significant marital assets. Anecdotes from friends and family will probably not be an accurate indicator of how long your divorce will take, but there are some common threads among divorces as well as some statutory waiting periods. 

The Residency Requirements

Before anyone files a petition for divorce, he or she must have lived in the state of Texas for a minimum of six months. Additionally, you must be a resident of the county in which you are filing for at least 90 days. Once you have fulfilled these residency requirements, you may file the divorce petition. 

However, you must wait at least 60 days after you file the petition for divorce to finalize everything. The reason for the 60 days is for couples to either reconcile their differences or at least make some headway towards a settlement. Think of the 60-day wait as a cooling-off period; couples often get into heated arguments, but not all of them naturally result in a divorce. 

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces

If you want your divorce to have a chance at being finalized in 60 days, you will want the split to be uncontested. This means that you and your spouse agree on all matters of the final agreement, which includes child custody and division of marital property. If you and your spouse are both in total agreement that a divorce is necessary, the two of you could even have most of the settlement worked out before you even file the divorce petition. 

Let’s say you and your spouse agree on everything except for who should get the children on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Just this one disagreement makes your divorce contested. You should consider using mediation to work through these differences, but a judge will have to make the final determination if the two of you aren’t able to reach an agreement. 

Going to court means you will have to wait for an opening in the court’s schedule, which will lengthen your divorce process. Depending on the issues you and your spouse cannot agree on, both sides’ attorneys may engage in discovery, which is the legal process for finding out things about the other side. During this time, you or your spouse might petition the court for temporary alimony, child support, or child custody orders. 

Considering everything, it is most common for the divorce process to take 6-12 months. It isn’t unheard of, though, for some especially complex divorces to take two years or longer. 

The Sooner You Retain an Attorney, the Better

There’s simply no telling how long your potential divorce will take without a thorough review of your circumstances and goals. The only sure thing is that the process will be more efficient the sooner you hire a knowledgeable, passionate, and client-centered attorney like Tycha Kimbrough. For more information on our firm or to schedule your consultation, contact us here through our website or call us at 833-553-4521.

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