We are going to trial: How long does divorce take?
When I was younger, I thought if two people wanted to get divorced, they could just go before a judge, sign a simple piece of paper, and be done with it. Even if the case went to trial – like the sensationalized court cases you see on television – it would happen in one day and be over with.
Obviously, this was a naive way of thinking and was long before I took up family law as my calling in life. Simply put, not much in the judicial system moves that fast – especially when dealing with family matters.
So Brett, how long does getting divorced really take?
The short answer is that it could take up to a year, or longer, depending on the case. But let’s discuss.
A divorce case in Texas – contested or not – cannot even be ruled on (made final) by a judge for at least 60 days after the petition is filed. This is what is called a waiting period, and there is really no way to get around it unless the case is because of domestic violence.
From there, how long a case takes depends on if we are talking about a contested or uncontested case, the complexity of the issues – custody rights for the children, alimony, division of personal or real property, division of assets – and the degree of difficulty.
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.
And those time-frames are just the trial itself.
THE PERSONAL TRIAL
How long does divorce take? – Never mind the judicial trial. A divorce process really begins when a couple starts thinking about it, and that’s a personal trial in and of itself. I’ve 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, like how your children will be affected, and other matters like the ones mentioned above.
Bottom line, making the decision to end a marriage should not be taken lightly, which is why I said at the outset of this blog that a divorce process – even before going to court – can take up to a year or longer.
How long does divorce take – Our staff at Nelson Law Group, PC. is always available to answer any questions you or your family may have about divorce. Yes, we are in the business of family law, but our goal is to shepherd you through the process and keep your family’s best interests top of mind. And if that means helping you come to the conclusion that the marriage can be saved – or not – we are here with you every step of the way.