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The answer to how long does a divorce take can depend on many factors – learn more about them here.

One question we hear a lot in our community is just how long is this going to take!? As you can imagine, the answer is NOT a one-size-fits-all figure. We turned to Divorce Attorney Justin Banks, one of our Divorce Squad experts, to give us a solid answer. Let’s see what he has to say.


A very common question that typically arises at the onset of a divorce action is, “how long does a divorce take”. The correct way to answer this is the dreaded “It depends” two words heard all too often from attorneys, but truthful, nonetheless. The short answer I typically provide is twelve to fourteen months depending on the situation. The exact time a divorce proceeding takes will always depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

The first factor to consider in how long the process will take is which avenue of divorce you are engaged in; meaning is it uncontested or contested? Typically, uncontested divorces take much less time as opposed to contested actions. The main reason being from the outset parties are working cooperatively and the only time they require input from the Court is at the final hearing where a Separation Agreement gets approved.

When parties are engaged in an uncontested divorce, the process takes only as long as they need to finalize an agreement and present it to the Court. That said, depending on the specific situation of the parties, children involved assets and support issues, an agreement could be finalized in two days, two months or two years.

It is more likely in this scenario that the parties would come to an agreement in a shorter period of time typically in the range of few months. After which the agreement is filed with the Court and presented to a judge to be approved. Thirty days after approval of the agreement a Judgment of Divorce is issued which becomes final and absolute ninety days thereafter. In that case a person could expect the entire process to be completed in approximately six to seven months.

When parties are engaged in contested divorce the process normally takes longer. In these scenarios the parties are not in agreement on some or all of the issues and require intervention from the Court to resolve issues. The contested process begins with the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. At the time of filing the Court establishes a track for the case which expects the case to be resolved in twelve to fourteen months.

Contested matters involve filing, discovery, motion practice, pre-trial conferences, status conferences and sometimes a trial. Due to all of the components in a contested matter it is not uncommon for it to take up to or exceeding two years for a case to proceed to trial. It is important to note that in an contested divorce, by law, a pre-trial conference cannot be held until six months after the date of filing.

Additionally, in a contested matter the pre-trial conference is the first opportunity that parties may have to present a settled case and have a separation agreement approved. In layman’s terms, a contested divorce at minimum takes six months to be resolved, but often take much longer.

For parties engaged in contested matters it is helpful to prepare oneself from the outset that it make take a significant amount of time for all of the issues to be to resolved. Specifically in the instances where a case goes to trial. Parties may wait multiple years for a case to be tried, conduct a trial over multiple days, and then still have to wait for the Court to issue a judgment. By statute the Court has six months after a trial to issue said judgment.

In summation, there is no definite answer to how long exactly any one divorce matter take, but in situations where parties are able to work cooperatively and reach a settlement they maintain a level of control over both the outcome of the case and the time it takes to complete.


Thank you, Attorney Banks, for outlining for us all the factors that go into the answer to how long does a divorce take. We hope you find this information helpful as we know that sometimes the process can feel endless – knowing what each step is can be reassuring!