How Long Does a Divorce Take in Georgia?
How long does a divorce take from start to finish? It can be as short as just over 30 days or it can take more than a year. Every divorce is unique and different so it's difficult to predict an average amount of time. Several factors determine the length of your divorce. First, the complexity of the divorce will affect the length. For example, if you have a lot of assets, investments etc. or if you have a complex child custody battle, more time will be required to effectively represent you and protect your interests. It's important to keep in mind that how long your divorce takes will initially depend on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce where there is disagreement between the parties as to how to resolve the divorce, will take more time. By contrast, an uncontested divorce where the parties agree on all aspects how the divorce should be resolved, will take less time. Another factor to consider is the county your divorce is filed in. Some counties have larger case loads and may end up taking longer to process your divorce. If you want an accurate projection of the length of your potential divorce, it is advisable to discuss the matter with an experienced divorce lawyer so they can weigh all of the particular factors of your case to provide a more accurate estimate for the actual projected length of your divorce matter.
Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce
How Long does an Uncontested Divorce Take?
An uncontested divorce where the parties agree on how to resolve all major issues in the divorce, may be granted 31 days after the defendant has been served with the complaint for divorce. Of course this 31 day projection is subject to two major variances: 1) the parties have already come to a formal agreement; 2) the judge is able and willing to sign on the 31st day. In practice, the process of coming to a formal agreement often takes an additional 30-60 days (or even longer) as parties negotiate the exact terms and conditions that will be included in the formal divorce agreement. Similarly, judges have numerous cases before them so realistic expectations need to include the fact that your particular judge likely will not be able to get to review your divorce filing immediately after the 31st day has past.
How Long Does Contested Divorce Take?
If the divorce is contested, meaning that there is a disagreement as to any matter pertaining to the divorce agreement, the divorce will be obtained once the case is heard, reviewed and decided by the court. In general, assuming thirty (30) days to have an answer filed, six (6) months of discovery, potential motions to be heard by a court prior to a trial being able to be granted and some additional time waiting for your final trial date, it is not uncommon for the entire process to take six (6) months to several years. In practice, the six (6) month discovery period is often extended by the parties to enable all relevant documents to be obtained and all relevant witnesses to be interviewed. This period may be further elongated if either party files additional motions, or seeks a continuance of the proceedings, or if the matters concerning the case, like child support, custody or alimony are passionately disputed. In addition, in child custody cases, there are often additional individuals involved in your case (such as GALs and custody evaluators) that may need additional time to perform their investigations and give their recommendations to the court.