How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Divorce Mediation Edited By: Belinda Martin – Associate Attorney

One of the first questions you may have is how long a divorce takes if you plan to file for divorce or if your spouse has already decided to file. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. The length of time a divorce takes is dependent on several factors, and it can also vary from state to state, so where you and your spouse live may make a difference in the timeline. Here are some of the most important considerations regarding what affects the length of a divorce.

What Affects the Length of the Divorce Process?

The factors that affect the length of the divorce process are all critical to address, and they can vary depending on several factors. From what state you live to the type of divorce filed, these are the main factors that affect divorce length:

  • The state you live in: Not all states have the same rules and regulations for divorce. Make sure you understand what that means for your situation.
  • Whether your state has a “cooling off” period: In some states, you must wait longer to divorce because you have a required period to think about it and change your mind after filing.
  • Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested: Contested divorces mean that one party is fighting the divorce or some of its specifics. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree to everything, making the process easier and thus shorter.
  • Whether the divorce is no-fault or not: A no-fault divorce is often faster than an at-fault divorce because no-fault divorces are not focused on accusations that cause additional time and energy to prove or disprove. The parties to a no-fault divorce agree that they have irreconcilable differences and are ready to divorce.
  • Whether you can successfully serve the divorce papers: If you can’t locate your spouse or are dodging the process server, it can take longer to get a divorce. There are provisions to divorce a spouse who is avoiding service or unable to be found, but it’s generally not quick.

Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce: What Takes Longer?

An uncontested divorce will take far less time than a contested divorce. That is mainly because an uncontested divorce doesn’t require a trial. Instead, it’s two people agreeing to end their marriage and finding common ground on its specifics. Then they ask the court to finalize what they’ve already decided.

No-Fault Vs. Fault-Based Divorce: What Takes Longer?

No-fault divorces generally take less time to complete than those considered at-fault divorces. There is an agreement between both parties in a no-fault divorce, and when it’s also uncontested, this kind of divorce offers the shortest possible process. A fault-based, contested divorce, on the other hand, is the longest of the processes.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Georgia?

As stated above, there is a cooling-off period defined by the legislature, and Georgia’s cooling-off period is 30 days. If both parties are determined to get a divorce, it can be completed in as little as 30 days.

In Georgia, just like every other state, what affects the length of a divorce depends on the type of divorce and the situation’s specifics. In general, though, you can use the following guidelines:

  • No-fault divorces: 45 to 60 days
  • Fault-based divorces: Six months to one year
  • Uncontested divorces: Up to two months.

By understanding what kind of divorce process you’re likely to have with your spouse, you can more easily estimate the potential length of the process. But keep in mind that there can be delays, unique circumstances, and other factors to getting a divorce.

Get Your Divorce Questions Answered at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor

If you need consultation or representation for your divorce case, turn to the experienced Atlanta-based divorce lawyers at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor. We’ll help you understand your case and next steps and guide you through. Contact our offices today to start the process.