Whether you and your spouse are discussing divorce or you just filed for divorce, you might be wondering how long the process will take. Each case is unique, and the exact timeframe for divorce depends on the family and its unique circumstances. Divorces can be finalized within a matter of weeks, while others can take up to a year to complete.
Divorce: Contested, Uncontested, or Simplified?
It is the type of divorce you file that will greatly influence how long your divorce takes. The simplified divorce in three days process will probably be shortest, while the contested divorce process will likely be the longest.
No matter which type of divorce you choose, you must meet Florida’s residency requirements before you can file. It is a requirement that you or your spouse have lived in the state for at least six months before filing.
An Overview of the Simplified Divorce Process
As you might guess from the name, a simplified divorce is the quickest and easiest divorce process. A simplified divorce is only available to qualified applicants.
You and your spouse must meet the following requirements to qualify for a simplified divorce:
- Not having children
- Both parties agree to a simplified divorce
- Both spouses agree not to receive alimony
- Decide how you will divide the marital property
You and your spouse must sign and submit a petition and financial affidavits to initiate a simplified divorce. After you submit your petition, the court will schedule a hearing no later than 20 days after that. Your marriage will be dissolvedthe court at the hearing if everything was submitted properly and there are no issues with the divorce agreement. Therefore, a simplified divorce takes about three weeks, plus the amount of time it takes to prepare your petition.
Uncontested Divorce Timeline
Even if you do not qualify for a simplified divorce, you and your spouse can still file uncontested as long as you agree on the terms of your separation.
If your divorce is uncontested, you and your spouse may need to work through any disagreements and come to an agreement for your marital property, custody of your children, and alimony and child support. Depending on how well you and your spouse are able to negotiate and compromise, you may only need one mediation session or several. Overall, the length of the divorce will be dependent on this factor.
Uncontested divorces still require a waiting period of 20 days between filing your petition and the hearing, so an uncontested divorce will still take at least three weeks. When you include the preparation and negotiation time, an uncontested divorce typically takes a couple of months.
Contested Divorces: The Timeline
You’ll have to deal with the busy schedule of the court during a contested divorce, which requires substantial court intervention. In the event that you and your spouse cannot agree, you will have to file a contested divorce so that a judge can decide your fate.
Divorce Is Typically Contested In The Following Ways:
The divorce petition and summons must be served upon your spouse, which can take up to three weeks. You can pay extra money to expedite serving the Petition and Summons.
Answer period: A respondent has 20 days after receiving service to file a response.
There will be a disclosure process in which each spouse will have to provide substantial financial documentation. Documents requiredthe Mandatory Financial Disclosure Act must be exchanged forty-five (45) days after service.