Ask a Divorce Lawyer: How Long Does This Process Usually Take?

Divorce Lawyer

A divorce can be long, drawn-out, and messy. However, it can also be relatively uncomplicated and decently quick to settle. How long the process takes varies considerably, and you should consult a divorce lawyer in Houston, TX to talk you through the process.

Ask a Divorce Lawyer in Houston, TX: How Long Does This Process Usually Take?

It’s understandable to want your divorce process to be short once you decide to end your marriage. However, in Texas, a divorce will always take at least two months. You file your divorce, then you must wait 60 days before you can finalize it. However, it still usually takes three or four months to finalize an uncontested divorce. Scheduling issues and the court’s docket may make the process last longer even if you wish to finalize the divorce quickly.

Besides that, it’ll almost always take more than 60 days to negotiate your final divorce settlement even in an uncontested divorce. You need to split up your assets, decide custody of your children, and negotiate a settlement that both parties can agree to. This will rarely take just 60 days; even agreeable parties with the most amicable relationship may find themselves needing to heavily negotiate to get what they want and need out of their divorce.

Is There an Average Length of Time a Divorce Takes?

Due to the complexity of individual divorce cases, there’s no exact length of time that a divorce typically takes. Several factors influence how long the process will go on, including:

  • Whether the divorce is contested or not
  • How agreeable the spouses are
  • What court the divorce takes place in
  • The issues being contested (if applicable)
  • How fast the attorneys and court work

Most attorneys will be cooperative and try to help their clients get the case settled in a timely manner. To learn more about how an attorney can help you, click here.

What Does the Divorce Timeline Look Like?

1. Discovery

The discovery phase of your divorce usually takes place during the 60-day period you must have between filing and finalization. Sometimes it may last longer. During this time, you may decide to file temporary orders to decide on child custody, financial arrangements, and other important things. These temporary orders generally hold up for the duration of your divorce process and are replaced by permanent arrangements once your divorce finalizes.

As well as filing temporary orders, the discovery phase will consist of gathering information such as written and oral testimonies, relevant documents, and information regarding your assets. If you need evidence to back up a claim in your divorce case, then your attorney will usually help you obtain it during the discovery phase. All aspects of your marriage and life will usually be taken into account during discovery.

2. Starting Proceedings

You typically begin dealing with the bulk of the divorce proceedings after the discovery phase. The main issues you’ll usually address are child custody and the division of your community property. All applicable property division and custody-related issues will be evaluated and addressed in depth. Both former spouses’ needs and wants will generally be taken into account when dividing assets, and custody will be based on the best interests of your child.

These proceedings typically take the longest out of the entire divorce process. Discussions and negotiations may go on for months or even years depending on the circumstances of your divorce case. Rest assured, though, your attorney will do everything they can to help you and your former spouse make all necessary arrangements during a divorce.

3. Mediation

Mediation is where both parties sit down with an unbiased third party to try to reach a mutual agreement regarding their divorce settlement. For some couples, mediation is less time-consuming than for others.

Mediation may take place at any time during the divorce process. Sometimes the spouses are ordered to engage in mediation before even filing temporary orders during the discovery phase. Other times mediation occurs after the discovery phase, and sometimes it happens very late during the divorce proceedings.

4. Finalization

Once both divorcing spouses agree to everything laid out in the divorce settlement, they can then agree to finalize their divorce. All issues regarding custody, asset division, and anything else applicable will have been addressed. Once your divorce is finalized, then permanent orders will generally be set in place to replace the temporary orders you filed at the start of the divorce process.

The steps of the divorce are straightforward when laid out in writing, but it’s the negotiations and making of arrangements that complicate things and draw out the process. Agreeable spouses working with experienced divorce attorneys will most likely have an easier time getting their divorce settled faster. However, even the simplest uncontested divorces usually take a few months to finalize.

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