People who file for divorce usually want the process to be over as soon as possible. No one likes when legal issues drag on. However, divorces are deeply personal, so separating spouses are often even more eager to bring things to a close. That’s why one of the first questions they ask attorneys is how long the divorce is likely to take. If you’re reading this, you probably have the same question. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer since each divorce is different.
A lot depends on how quickly the parties can settle matters regarding property division, alimony, and child custody. Some divorcing couples can decide on these issues among themselves, but others argue every step of the way. The more issues that are contested, the longer the process is likely to take. That’s why there’s really no “average” divorce. That being said, there are some minimum timeframes that you should be aware of. Your divorce lawyer in Albany, Georgia will advise you on what applies in your case.
The Shortest Time A Divorce Can Take in Georgia
Most divorces granted in Georgia are no-fault divorces. This means the spouse asking for the divorce doesn’t have to prove the other did something wrong. They simply need to say the relationship is beyond repair. With this type of divorce, the court can’t hold the trial until 30 days from the date the papers were filed. This provision in the law is there to allow for reconciliation if possible.
After the 30 days have passed, the court clerk passes the divorce file onto the judge’s assistant who reviews it for completeness. The documents then go on to the judge for another review. If the judge approves the petition, they will sign off on the Final Order and mail it to you or your divorce lawyer in Albany. Most divorces aren’t finalized in 31 days. This is partly because court schedules are often too packed for divorce cases to be dealt with immediately. There may also be some elements of contention which require a court hearing. In most cases, the process takes between 60 and 90 days. Contested divorces present additional challenges.
What Happens During a Contested Divorce
Contested divorces can take a long time and a number of things can come up. The discovery process in divorces and other civil matters is usually around 6 months. This is the fact-finding part of the case before the trial when the parties must disclose all relevant facts and documents. The judge has the discretion to extend or reduce the time.
Negotiating and attempting to reach a settlement between the two parties can also take time. However, this may be faster than trying to get a hearing so the judge can decide. The courts often require the parties to go through mediation before putting them on the calendar. Scheduling a hearing can take up to 45 days. If the divorce remains contested, the process can take anywhere from nine months to a year or even more. It is not unheard of for a highly contested divorce to take three years. A lot depends on how much you and your former spouse are able to agree on without the courts having to issue a ruling. The skill of your attorney can also make a big difference.
How Will A Lawyer Help Me?
It’s not mandatory that you have a lawyer. However, representing yourself isn’t wise. You’re unlikely to be aware of all the legal requirements and this will be a highly emotional experience. It’s best to work with an experienced attorney who will handle all the legal matters. If there are no assets to be divided and no minor children involved, you may be able to handle things on your own. However, if either of these is present you shouldn’t try to go at it alone, even if the divorce is uncontested. You could actually lose more than the cost of hiring a lawyer if you try to work alone. With contested divorces, hiring an attorney should be a no-brainer. These divorces can be quite complicated, and you may not get a fair outcome if you’re unrepresented.
Contact Joe Durham Jr. P.C. Today to Discuss Your Georgia Divorce Case
Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult life events. Whether you filed for divorce or it’s your spouse who wants to end the marriage, you’ll want the process to move quickly. While we can’t predict how long your divorce will take, we can support you every step of the way and ensure your rights are protected. Call our divorce law firm in Albany, Georgia today to book a consultation.