How Long Does a Divorce Take in New York?

How long your divorce will take is often a burning question for spouses going through the New York divorce process. Because of the stress involved, most people want to get through their divorce as quickly as possible. However, quick does not always translate to fair or thorough. Also, various factors will determine the speed of the divorce process; each of these factors can add considerable length to any divorce. Understanding them can help you gain a picture of what to expect when it comes to how long you will be engaged in this ongoing legal matter.

No-Fault or Fault-Based?

The first big question is whether you are filing under New York’s no-fault divorce rule. Under this plan, you will not have to prove any marital misconduct by your spouse. Not having to prepare and present documentation of fault to the court is obviously a time and money saver. Under the no-fault rule, you agree that the marriage has been irretrievably broken and is not open to reconciliation. It’s that simple. However, time factors that may lengthen even this approach include how long it takes your spouse to respond to being served divorce papers and how busy the court’s schedule is.

A general idea on the length of time it takes for a no-fault uncontested divorce would be three months. This, of course, is based on the idea that you and your spouse are in agreement with all issues stemming from the divorce, such as how to divide and distribute marital property and other matters. If you are not in agreement, it will take time to negotiate or mediate those issues or have them decided by the court.

Contested or Uncontested?

The next biggest factor involves whether or not you have issues that you and your spouse cannot agree on. These issues can range from child custody to child support, alimony, the divisions and distribution of marital property and debt, and any other matter that can stall the process. Dividing certain intangible property, for example, can be time consuming, such as deciding the matter of retirement or pension accounts or stock portfolios. Real property, such as homes, vacation homes, and investment real estate may need to be appraised or evaluated to determine a number that can be worked with in a property settlement. Thus, in the case of substantial property or assets, the divorce process can be made lengthier.

The matter of child custody can also become a serious matter for debate or even a court battle that will involve numerous court appearances along with the presentation of evidence, witnesses, and more. These appearances will also be subject to the court calendar.

Each additional issue that must be decided in court will add to the length of the process. As a general rule, the more issues to decide and the more contentious they are between parties, the longer your divorce will take. Complex divorce cases can take more than a year to resolve from the day divorce papers are served until a final settlement has been decreed by the court.

O’Brien & Wood PLLC

To help resolve your divorce in a less adversarial and thus less time-consuming manner, our firm provides divorce mediation services. As skilled mediators, our divorce attorneys can provide the guidance you need to come to a more amicable resolution to your divorce. This will mean less time spent in court, less expense related to court appearances, and thus a more private, cost-conscious, and speedier process. With extensive experience handling the New York divorce process, O’Brien & Wood PLLC provides the options you need to better resolve this challenging process.

Get the help you need in settling your Albany divorce. Call us at (518) 240-9992 to set up a free case evaluation today.