So you are getting divorced. You have found yourself a family lawyer, raised enough funds to financially see the process through from start to finish, asked the right questions, got all your documents together, and prepared yourself mentally for the uncharted road ahead. You are feeling as good as you can possibly feel under the circumstances, though one question keeps rolling around in your head: “How long does divorce take?”
That is a great question. After all, no one wants a long, drawn-out divorce process. Will it take a few days? A week? A few months? Can’t you just sign the papers today and go your separate ways?
Unfortunately, there is not a catch-all answer to this question, as no two divorce cases are the same.
One case could be a nip and tuck deal that gets wrapped up pretty quickly. Another could involve bickering spouses, millions of dollars in marital assets that need to be divided equitably, and children stuck in the middle.
You could also have a divorce going pretty smoothly at first, only to have one disagreement hold everything up.
And on top of all of that, not much in the judicial system moves quickly — especially when dealing with family matters.
While there are divorces that wrap up pretty quickly, the short answer is that getting a divorce in Texas could take up to a year or longer, depending on the case. A judge cannot even rule on a divorce case in Texas for at least 60 days after the petition is filed. This is called a waiting period, and there is no way around it unless the case involves domestic violence. Under the Texas Rules of Judicial Administration, uncontested divorces should be brought to trial or final verdict no later than three months after the appearance date. Contested cases should be made final within six months after the appearance date. If not, a case can be dismissed by the court. However, the tight timeline in a contested case is rarely adhered to.
How long a divorce in Texas takes depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- How much or little the parties agree on various issues
- Custody rights for the children
- Alimony issues
- Complex financial negotiations
- Rising attorney costs
- Not having key documents or paperwork on hand
- Division of personal or real property and assets
- Potential third parties
- Unforeseen circumstances
Putting the judicial process aside for a second, many people do not realize that the divorce process really begins when a couple starts thinking about it. And that is a personal trial in and of itself. I have said this time and time again, but divorce is a big decision and should not be rushed into. Couples should seek out as much information as they can — and take as much time as they need — BEFORE heading down that path.
That includes time spent visiting with the right lawyer and/or marriage counselor to see if the marriage can be saved. If it cannot be saved and you have done your due diligence, you need time to ask questions about what to expect. This includes having a lawyer set the proper expectation for how long your divorce could take.
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A divorce is a significant, life-changing event, and the effects of this difficult time will undoubtedly be felt for a while. But if you can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you and your family, perhaps this is the right time to push forward with a new life.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today!
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