The decision to file for divorce is difficult on its own. But when divorce proceedings drag on with no end in sight, it can become downright unbearable.
If you are in the midst of a New York divorce, you might be wondering how to get the whole thing over with. Divorce cases are rarely speedy affairs, and it’s nearly impossible to tell how long your divorce will take until it’s over.
The following guide can help you understand the process and what you can do to keep your divorce moving forward as quickly as possible.
How Long Does a New York Divorce Case Usually Take?
The timeline for a New York divorce can differ wildly depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. However, even a relatively “quick” uncontested divorce typically takes several months to finalize.
An uncontested divorce does not necessarily mean both spouses see eye-to-eye on everything. In an uncontested divorce, the partners simply agree on divorce-related issues, such as property division, custody, and support.
When a divorce is uncontested, the spouses can settle their differences outside of the courtroom and prepare documents for the court to acknowledge and sign. This allows couples to avoid potentially lengthy and expensive court proceedings. Many uncontested divorces in New York can be completed in as little as three months.
In a contested divorce, on the other hand, the spouses do not agree on one or more issues related to the divorce. When this occurs, couples typically go to court so an impartial judge can make decisions about their divorce.
Depending on the complexity of the situation and the court’s availability, court proceedings for a contested divorce can last for months or even years. On average, a contested divorce in New York takes from nine to 12 months to finalize.
Factors That Could Lengthen the Timeline of Your Divorce
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, there are several factors that could increase the amount of time it takes to finalize, including:
- Difficulties working together – If one or both spouses are unable to communicate or collaborate productively, the divorce will likely become contested and take much longer. This is especially true when there are minor children involved.
- Extensive or complex assets – If the couple owns high-value or complicated assets included, the divorce process can be lengthy even when both spouses are in complete agreement. This is because such assets must be appraised and valued before they can be divided, which can be a slow and costly process.
- Court-related factors – Before a divorce can be finalized, the judge must review all relevant information and ensure the proposed settlement adheres to the applicable divorce laws. If the couple has any minor children together, the judge must also consider the best interests of those children. Depending on the issues at hand and the court’s schedule, these factors can add weeks or even months to the process.
What Can I Do to Speed Up My Divorce?
As you can see, pursuing an uncontested divorce is the best way to streamline and speed up your divorce proceedings. You can help avoid a lengthy and expensive divorce by:
- Preparing ahead of time – Gather your paperwork, financial documents, and other relevant information before you file. Contacting a knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible can help you determine what you’ll need to provide to the court.
- Cooperating with your spouse – Remain civil with your spouse throughout the process by respecting important deadlines, responding to their requests for information, and communicating freely.
- Pursuing mediation – If you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement on your own, you could pursue third-party mediation before going to court. Divorce mediators are typically neutral parties who work with you, your spouse, and your respective lawyers to resolve disagreements.
Contact a New York Divorce Attorney Today
Regardless of the timeline for your New York divorce, a good divorce lawyer will tell you it’s better to handle things properly than to rush through a settlement that will leave everyone bitter. To discuss your case with a qualified New York attorney, contact The Mandel Law Firm for your confidential case review.