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How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 26, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Once you've made the decision to get out of your marriage, your next question might be how long it will take to get it all over with. We're sure you don't need to be told that doing it right is better than doing it fast, but we also know that prolonging an already emotionally-charged situation doesn't do anyone any favors. So how quickly can you get a divorce?

Every ending marriage is unique, but there are some common factors that can expedite or delay your divorce.


It may seem impossible now, but if you and your spouse can maintain a cordial relationship before and during the divorce, it will mean you both can get through it and move on more quickly. Having open lines of communication and coming to an agreement on the major issues of the separation means less time battling in court

An uncontested divorce isn't available in all states, but involves a stipulation from both spouses to agree to the terms of a divorce agreement which can be negotiated beforehand. And going through mediation, rather than adversarial court hearings, can also save time.


Not all couples are the same, so there are many ways to become "un-coupled." Some of them, like a summary dissolution, could end your marriage more quickly than others. Summary dissolutions are available to couples who have been married five or fewer years, don't have any shared minor children, don't have any shared real property interests, have less than a certain amount of marital property, and relinquish any claim to spousal support following the separation.

Researching whether a summary dissolution, legal separation, annulment, or full divorce is right for you before you file will give you a better idea of how long your divorce will take.


As in all other endeavors, being prepared for a divorce can make the whole process run more smoothly, and that will normally save you some time. Getting child custody, tax, and business ownership interests in line before you file is essential.

Even the most prepared divorce can still take time -- many states have mandatory waiting or cooling off periods in between when the paperwork is filed and when the divorce is official. For more information about local waiting periods and all other divorce filing details, contact an experienced divorce attorney near you.

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