As we've mentioned in some of our previous blogs on divorce, the average US divorce and be quite costly and, according to Business Insider can cost around $15,000. Frequently, whether the actual cost is above or below the national average correlates to how long it takes to finalize the dissolution of their marriage. Other factors particular to your divorce will also have an impact.
If you're filing for divorce, along with cost, you're probably wondering how long the process will take. The answer to that question depends on a myriad of factors, such as what preparatory measures you take before filing, how contested the case is, how much information-gathering is needed to complete the divorce, and more.
At Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers, we'll work with you to resolve your divorce in a streamlined manner, helping you protect what matters most.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (940) 293-2313.
How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce in Texas?
To file for a divorce in Texas, the filing spouse must have lived in the county they file for divorce in for at least 90 days and in the state of Texas for at least 6 months. After filing, the parties involved in the divorce must wait at least 60 days before a court can finalize the case, even if the parties have agreed on all of the terms.
Divorces in Texas take place somewhere on the litigation spectrum, ranging anywhere from a completely agreed divorce, through a somewhat contested case that may involve some complexities or hearings, to a fully litigated divorce ending in a trial before a judge or jury.
If the parties are very agreeable, they can work together to draft a divorce agreement. They must then sign the agreement, finalizing the terms for the divorce. The parties can then present the divorce agreement to the court, which will generally approve the agreement and legally finalize the divorce. In a truly uncontested case, this can wrap up the divorce in as few as 61 days after filing.
How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Contested Divorce in Texas?
The real answer to this question is: It depends. A huge variety of factors can impact how long it takes to finalize a contested divorce in Texas. For example:
Both parties should have the information they need in order to successfully finalize the divorce process. This may be as simple as exchanging a list of assets and debts to be divided or as complex as completing a formal discovery process, including depositions, to delve into each sides’ positions in the case.
Many courts require parties who cannot agree on terms for their divorce to attend a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation, to resolve their differences. If ADR is effective, it can result in parties agreeing on terms and ultimately entering into an uncontested divorce, ending the divorce process relatively quickly. Mediation in Texas divorces has a huge rate of success but the timing for mediation is also not the same for every case, depending on how much information needs to be gathered beforehand and also on the schedules of everyone involved.
If ADR is not effective, or before mediation takes place, the parties can litigate their divorce in court. This process can vary but often involves temporary hearings to establish various procedures, such as setting up temporary spousal support if one party needs help to remain financially stable during the divorce. If not resolved previously, at final trial, the parties and their legal counsel must present evidence to the court supporting their case for a proposed divorce outcome, addressing all issues including custody and property division. After trial, the Judge or Jury will issue a ruling, which the attorneys must then convert into the Final Decree of Divorce for entry with the Court. The litigation process can take many months, depending on the details of the case.
A contested custody case can add a layer of complexity and thus add time to the divorce process. Some courts will appoint a custody evaluator or Amicus attorney to assist in this process, adding additional time to allow those investigations to be completed.
If the divorce involves significant valuable assets, complex assets such as a business, or significant separate property claims that require expert tracing, that can also dramatically impact the timeline of the case. In complex property situations, a contested divorce can take months or even years to fully resolve due to the complexity of assessing and dividing such assets equitably.
In total, it's safe to say that the average contested divorce can take anywhere from a few months to a year (or more, in extreme cases) to resolve, depending on the details of the case, how many aspects of the divorce the parties disagree on, and how quickly the court moves forward with the divorce (among other factors).
At Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers, we can help you understand what to expect from your divorce and put together a timeline that enables you to know roughly how long your divorce may take.
To schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about our divorce-related legal services, contact us online or via phone at (940) 293-2313.