Why does divorce take so long? If you’re in the middle of a divorce, you’re probably wondering why it’s taking so long. You and your spouse have already decided to split up. So why can’t you just move on with your lives? Unfortunately, divorce is rarely straightforward.
In addition to the emotional turmoil of separating from a spouse, several legal hurdles must be navigated. Here I will discuss 10 reasons why divorce can take a long time, as well as some tips on how to speed up the process.
10 Reasons as to Why Does Divorce Take So Long
#1. You and your spouse can’t agree on key issues:
Divorce is never as easy as breaking up, but it can be incredibly complicated when spouses cannot agree on critical issues. The divorce process can take months, or even years, to complete if spouses cannot settle.
Child custody, division of assets, and spousal support are just a few of the many issues that can cause contention between divorcing couples.
When spouses cannot agree on these essential matters, it lengthens the divorce process and makes it more difficult for both parties to move on with their lives. Sometimes, couples may even need to go to court to have a judge resolve their differences.
However, even in these instances, it can take months or even years for a divorce to be finalized. No matter the reason, divorce is always a lengthy and complex process.
#2. Delay by disclosure & discovery:
The divorce process can be further lengthened by what is known as “disclosure and discovery.” Disclosure is a process by which each spouse exchanges their information about assets, debts, income, and expenses.
This information is then used to determine how property will be divided and whether spousal support will be awarded. It is also essential to catch the party who tries to remove the marital property before the divorce.
The discovery process can also add months to the divorce process, as it can be used to uncover hidden assets or income. This information must then be disclosed to the other spouse, which can further lengthen the process.
In addition, divorcing spouses may need to hire experts to value businesses or real estate, which can also add to the cost and time of the divorce. All of the processes are timely matters.
#3. Refusal to cooperate:
The divorce process is often delayed by one party’s refusal to cooperate. For example, a spouse may refuse to sign necessary documents or provide information about their finances. It can lengthen the process considerably, as the other spouse may go to court to compel cooperation.
In some cases, a spouse may even flee the jurisdiction in an attempt to drag out the divorce process for a more extended period.
#4. Time for filing for divorce:
It can also take a considerable amount of time to file for divorce. In many jurisdictions, there is a waiting period of several months (or even years) from the time the divorce is filed until it is finalized.
This waiting period allows the parties to cool off and reconsider their decision to divorce. It also gives them time to work out any outstanding issues and come to a settlement agreement.
Sometimes, the waiting period may be waived if extenuating circumstances (such as domestic aggression) exist. In these instances, it can still take several months for the divorce to be finalized. While preparing for the divorce, one should mentally prepare for this delay.
#5. Lengthy response and filing for motions
Though the other spouse has a certain amount of time to respond to the divorce petition, they frequently appeal for extra time to respond, but the court typically allows it. At the hearing stage, one spouse may appeal for continuance or rescheduling, and judges are generally flexible on this point.
Filing frequent motions (written legal requests) for different issues is also one of the common reasons for delaying divorce. If both spouses consistently file motions, divorce can be considerably lengthened.
In some cases, an unwilling divorce spouse may use these motions to delay the divorce or take revenge on the other spouse. Try to convince for the divorce.
If the other party is deported and their whereabouts are unknown to the filing party, it takes a long time to notice the divorce filing. In maximum time, some special procedures need to divorce such a deported spouse.
#6. Busy court schedule:
This is another obstacle to a quick divorce. The court dockets are full these days with caseloads. Particularly the family courts. It can take months or even years to get a divorce trial date. In some cases, the wait for a trial date may be even longer if the case is complex or if there are many assets to be divided.
The more complexity of the case, the more need for trials, which may turn into a longer divorce process.
#7. The cost of hiring professionals:
The cost of hiring an attorney is another factor that can lengthen the divorce process. While some couples can reach a settlement agreement without needing an attorney, others find it necessary to hire one (or even two) to represent them throughout the process.
In addition, the cost of hiring other professionals (such as a financial advisor, appraise, dispute mediators, etc.) can also add to the cost of the divorce. It is one reason why it is essential to consider the cost of the divorce when deciding whether or not to proceed with one.
#8. Pending relevant case:
The divorce process can also be lengthened if there are pending relevant cases. For example, if one spouse is suing the other for making assets by fraud or assault, the divorce will likely be put on hold until the case is resolved.
This can take months or even years to resolve, depending on the complexity of the case and the court schedule.
The divorce of Sarah, my cousin, took a long process because while divorcing, she was pregnant, and she filed another 2 cases against her husband. These cases need to be solved before the final decree of the divorce case.
#9. Spouse emotions to win everything:
When the emotions of winning everything from the other spouse are strong, one spouse may refuse to settle for anything less than what they feel is fair. It can considerably lengthen divorce as the parties battle it in court.
In some cases, this custody battle can further delay the divorce process if the parties bring so many issues to use against another party to win it.
#10. Combative attitude of attorney:
Not all the family lawyers but many of them are not familiar with speedy divorce. The longer the divorce process, the more trial means more lawyer money. In some cases, one spouse may be represented by a lawyer who is more interested in prolonging the divorce than settling.
If the attorneys are combative and unwilling to compromise, it can lengthen the process considerably.
Why do divorces take so long? Learn more reasons from Peter:
Ways to Speed Up the Divorce Process
If you are facing a lengthy divorce, there are things that you can do to speed up the process. Here are a few tips:
- Consider hiring a mediator to help you reach a settlement agreement.
- If you have minor children, consider using the services of a parenting coordinator.
- Make sure you and your attorney are on the same page regarding the divorce strategy.
- Be prepared to make some concessions to reach a settlement agreement.
- Be willing to compromise on some issues to speed up the process.
- Keep your emotions in check and avoid making things worse by being combative.
- Remember that the goal is to get through the divorce as quickly as possible so you can move on with your life.
FAQs on Why Does Divorce Take So Long
How long does divorce take after filing papers?
Every divorce is different, but if both parties agree, the process can be relatively quick. If there are contested issues, however, it can take much longer. On average, a divorce takes about 12 months to finalize.
However, this number will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case. It can take longer if children are involved or have complex financial issues.
How long does an uncontested divorce take?
Assuming you are asking in the context of the United States, an uncontested divorce can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If the parties involved have attorneys, it can take slightly longer.
The time frame for an uncontested divorce often depends on how quickly the parties can agree on all of the terms of their divorce, including division of assets and debts, child custody and visitation schedules, and alimony or spousal support.
If both parties can reach an amicable settlement without going to trial, their divorce can be finalized relatively quickly.
How long is the quickest divorce?
The quickest divorce is uncontested, and the parties agree on all terms. This can happen in as little as a few weeks if everything goes smoothly. It can take longer if any outstanding issues need to be ironed out.
But generally speaking, an uncontested divorce is the quickest way to dissolve a marriage
Why does the financial end of divorce take so long?
When it comes to divorce, the financial end can often take a long time. This is because countless details need to be sorted out in the division of marital assets. It includes houses, savings accounts, stocks, retirement plans, and more.
Determining who gets what can be incredibly complicated, especially if both parties are not on good terms. And even if they can agree, it still needs to be approved by the court.
So yes, the financial end of divorce can take quite a while – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Should you slow down the pace of your divorce?
Getting divorced is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. That said, there’s no need to rush things. If you and your spouse can amicably agree on the terms of your divorce, then it makes sense to take things slowly and design a divorce plan that works for both of you.
There are a lot of important details to work out during a divorce, including division of assets, child custody arrangements, and more.
By taking things slow, you can ensure that everything is properly accounted for and that both you and your spouse are on the same page. It can help prevent any disagreements or misunderstandings down the road.
No one enjoys going through a divorce, but the process can be even more frustrating when it takes too long. There are many reasons for the question of why does divorce take so long? But there are also things that you can do to speed it up.
If you are in a situation where your divorce is taking way too long, try to remain patient and work with your spouse to settle mutually. Consult with an expert family lawyer to find a solution.