Whereas planning a wedding can be one of the biggest challenges a couple faces, uncoupling—that is, getting a divorce—can prove to be even costlier and more time-consuming. How long does it take to get a divorce?
Most couple aren't thinking about divorce as they walk down the aisle, but after the honeymoon, things can change. Here are some things to consider if you want a divorce.
The divorce process doesn't have to be difficult but often is
Getting a divorce can be cumbersome, especially if your affairs aren't in order (no pun intended). Before getting a divorce, couples need to consider whether they want a divorce attorney, organize their finances (such as bank accounts and credit cards), and figure out their living situation during the divorce.
The time it takes to get a divorce is largely determined by your state
In some states, divorces are quick and efficient, and in others, they can be grueling. Some places may even require a separation period before the divorce can be processed.
States with longer divorce processing periods are the following:
- New York: 360 days.
- Nebraska: 420 days.
- California: 360 days.
- Arkansas: 540 days.
- Rhode Island: 510 days.
States with shorter processing times are:
- Alaska: 30 days.
- Nevada: 42 days.
- South Dakota: 60 days.
- Wyoming: 80 days.
- Idaho: 62 days.
- New Hampshire: 1 year (non-residents), none for residents.
Another factor that can derail the processing times is legal fees. Whereas spouses may try and settle the divorce themselves, a divorce lawyer may be needed if things get ugly. Generally, the more things that need to be divided and accounted for, the longer a divorce will take and the more it will cost. For people with fewer assets, lower income, and no children, a divorce may be as easy as getting married in Vegas.
The type of divorce a couple is filing for can also determine the timeline. According to LegalZoom, contested divorces, fault-based divorces (involving adultery or abuse), and situations where a spouse avoids being served with papers can all be slower. There may also be factors out of your control that drag out the process, such as your county having a backlog of unprocessed cases.
Does your state require separation before divorce?
According to Divorce Source, these states require separation before divorce:
- Alabama: 1 month.
- Arkansas: 18 months.
- California: 6 months after the filing date.
- District of Columbia: 6 months.
- Illinois: 2 years, 6 months with mutual consent.
- Iowa: 3 months.
- Louisiana: 6 months, 2 years for covenant marriage.
- Maryland: 2 years, 1 year with mutual consent.
- Massachusetts: 7 months, 1 month with mutual consent.
- Missouri: 6 months.
- Montana: 6 months.
- New Jersey: 18 months, 6 with mutual consent.
- New York: 1 year.
- North Carolina: 1 year.
- Ohio: 1 year, none with mutual consent.
- Pennsylvania: 2 years or 3 months with mutual consent.
- South Carolina: 1 year.
- Utah: 3 months, none with mutual consent.
- Vermont: 6 months.
- Virginia: 1 year, 6 months with mutual consent and no children.
- Washington: 3 months.
- West Virginia: 1 year, none with mutual consent.