How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

A standard question that people who are looking to end their marriage may ask their attorney is, “How long does an uncontested divorce take?”

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have been able to agree about the issues that will make up the terms of the divorce judgment. These include:

  • Child support
  • Custody
  • Division of marital property
  • Visitation

This doesn’t mean that each spouse does not have an attorney. It’s important for each person to seek out appropriate legal advice before agreeing to the terms of a divorce.

In cases where there are spousal pensions to be divided, other experts, such as a financial advisor, should be consulted before any agreement is signed. A person seeking an uncontested divorce should also be confident that his or her spouse is not hiding assets in the divorce before filing the papers.

An uncontested divorce is only a good choice when both people agree that they want to divorce and they are prepared to focus on getting the papers filed without doing things just to hurt each other.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take

The short answer to this question is that it depends on how long it takes for all the steps involved in getting a divorce to be completed.

Steps Involved in Getting an Uncontested Divorce

The first step in getting a divorce is for the person requesting that the marriage be dissolved file a Summons with the court. The Summons must also be served on the other spouse, who is called the defendant.

If the defendant accepts service of the Summons and signs an Affidavit, the divorce papers are filed with the court immediately. The defendant is given 20 days to reply, and if he or she does not, the plaintiff can file the divorce papers with the court.

The defendant also has the option of signing the papers in front of a notary public indicating that he or she has no intention of contesting the divorce. The plaintiff also signs the papers in that case, and they are filed with the court.

Filing Divorce Papers with the Court

Once the divorce papers have been signed and notarized or the time limit for the defendant to respond has passed, the next step in the process is to file the divorce papers with the court clerk’s office in the county where the plaintiff lives.

Once the papers have been filed with the court, the question, “How long does an uncontested divorce take?” is completely out of the parties’ hands. The amount of time it will take to finalize the divorce by having a judge approve and sign the judgment can take anywhere from six weeks to 12 months.

Your lawyer or the court clerk’s office in the county where you want to file for divorce may be able to give you an answer about how long an uncontested divorce takes to process in your area. The best they will be able to do is give you an estimate.

Once the divorce judgment has been signed, there may be a waiting period where neither party can remarry in certain jurisdictions. This would be the time where either person can file an appeal of the divorce judgment. Your attorney would be able to advise whether this provision applies in your case.

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