How Long Does a Divorce Take? How Long Does a Paternity Agreement Take?
In reality, the answer to both questions is “it depends on the complexity of the case, the backlog of the court, competency of representing council, and how fast facts, proof, and witnesses can be appropriated and put together. As each state has their own set of guidelines, as found in their statutes, there is no absolute amount of time prescribed for either the length of time it takes for a divorce or for a paternity agreement. Taking one subject at a time, there are issues which can be at least itemized in sequence, if not in length of time. Taking Florida as a representative state the following can be considered:
Divorce (now termed dissolution of marriage)
Once a person has decided to file for a divorce a decision must be made as to whether it will be simple (uncontested) or complex (contested). If the divorce will be uncontested, and there are no minor children or marital real estate involved a party may proceed without the use of an attorney. Paperwork for filing, including a mandatory financial disclosure for each party, must be obtained from the courthouse of the party’s residence. Completed and notarized paperwork, financial disclosure, and a fee must be filed. The other party has 20 days to respond and if all is completed correctly and uncontested; the court will set a date where the judge will adjudicate a final decree. This type of divorce takes the least amount of time.
To complete a contested divorce is much more involved and takes a lot more time. Here again, there is no way of knowing just how long it will take. To begin with, it takes time to select the attorney best suited to your particular case. Then there will be the filing of the divorce petition, process of compiling information, proof, desired outcomes, and when needed, witnesses. If there are minor children involved, each parent must take a state approved parenting class and the parents must formulate a parenting plan to include time sharing arrangements, communication, co-payments, special needs, and life and medical insurance. In Florida, mediation for a divorce case is required before a court hearing can be scheduled. Should there be a marital settlement drawn up during mediation the case can proceed to a judge who usually will accept the agreement as written and issue the final decree. This process will take time but significantly less time than a full blown court case.
Should the case need to go to court for a judge’s’ ruling on the issues at stake such as alimony, child support, and identification of and equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities (Florida is an equitable, not equal, distribution state) the time it takes to reach the final resolution will be much longer, even up to a year or more. There will be interrogatories to fill out, depositions to take, specialty witness to hire, meetings between client and attorney, motions to file, gathering and organizing documents of proof of need and acquisition, and any number of small details needed for the final day in court. All of this can be and usually is very time consuming.
Paternity agreement As for the time it takes to establish a paternity agreement it depends basically on the time it takes to order a paternity test, complete the test, get the results to an attorney, and then proceed to a hearing for a final judgment. A court backlog can add considerably to the time it takes for completion.
Time has no pr-established
Length when it comes to divorce and paternity agreements. Like so many aspects of legal decision making, the many twists and turns of each individual case make it impossible to predict a future timeline.