Many people wonder how long it will take get a divorce once they have finally decided that it is time to get a divorce. The main determining factor of how long a divorce can take is whether it is an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree to all the terms of your divorce including how your assets will be divided and the arrangements for child support and custody. A Final Decree of Divorce will be drafted including those terms and both you and your spouse will sign them. This will be the quickest route to divorce and will take about 90 days to from start to finish. After you file a Petition to Divorce, the clock will start ticking. Texas law requires a 60 day “cooling off” period between when you file the Petition to Divorce and when the Final Decree of Divorce is filed with the court. After those 60 days are up, you will go to court and hand the Final Decree of Divorce signed by both you and your spouse to the judge and they will sign it. After that, there is a 30-day waiting period that allows your spouse to appeal it. Once those 30 days are up and there was no appeal, your divorce is finalized!
A contested divorce is when you and your spouse can not agree on an issue or on multiple issues. There can be some dispute on how to divide up a house or who gets a certain real property item like a car. Child custody is another common area where spouses struggle to come to an agreement. During a contested divorce, the process begins with the Petition to Divorce. You will then let the judge know that your spouse will not sign the Decree of Divorce based on some disagreement with the terms. The judge will set a hearing for a contested divorce and that will be set at least 45 days out to give both parties time to prepare. If you and your spouse can still not come to agreement by the hearing, the hearing will happen and the judge will listen to both your side of the story and your spouse’s side of their story. The judge will try to order mediation for you and your spouse because the court would rather you and your spouse work it out between each other than the Court imposes their order on the matter. This procedure can be very timely and costly. There is no way to give an estimate on how long a contested divorce will take because it depends on the parties to be able to work out their issues and come to an agreement. If it does start taking too long and the judge can see there is no hope for an amicable resolution amongst the parties, the judge will take in all the arguments by the parties and divide the property in a “just and right” manner and follow the legal parameters to determine the best child support and child custody agreements.