How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Are you considering divorce and have questions about how long it will take to complete the process? Watch this video by experienced Jamestown divorce lawyer Scott Humble where he answers the question of “how long does a divorce take in New York State”. 

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Most of the divorce clients that come into my office want to know approximately how long it’s going to take to get through the divorce process. There’s really no good answer for that because it depends; it depends on a lot of different factors. It depends on how quickly the package can be put together by the client so we can go and proceed. We obviously can go and do the paperwork very quickly to file it with the County Clerk and get it back. It depends on how the defendant is going to be served. If they already have an attorney, we usually have the attorney go and serve it on the defendant. If they don’t have an attorney, sometimes they come into the office and pick up and then there’s a 20-day period before we can actually proceed with the divorce.

If they’re not able to do any of those two things, then we have to have them served. Normally, we hire the Civil Department of the Sheriff’s Department to go and have them served. That’s what they do a lot of – they go and serve different things like divorces, foreclosures, and lawsuits and things like that. We go and we hire them to go and do the service. They present us back with an affidavit of service, so we’ve got that, and then there’s a 20-day period for them, the defendant, to go and do something – hire an attorney or try to represent themselves, which is always a bad idea.

If they do nothing, we can go ahead with a default divorce. Basically, that is “on the papers,” and it’s relatively quick. We can put the paperwork together quickly and send it off to the court. The court takes anywhere from four to six weeks to and review it and sign off on it. The other possibility is that they hire an attorney. Once they do that, it really changes the ball game. With the other attorney, you’ve got to go and go through the full process. It’s not too often that we can go and settle things out of court.

I just had an email yesterday that an attorney that I know is representing a client that was supposed to be a default case, and they’re asking for the moon; it’s just unbelievable, so we’re going to go to court on that one. I’ve got another case where they went and they hired an attorney out of a big city, Buffalo. They’re very busy, so trying to go and get correspondence back and forth is difficult; it’s taking a lot longer in that particular case because of the distance and because they’re busy, so that’s a pretty slow-moving case. I’ve seen cases go and take 18 months – if they’re heavily litigated, maybe two years – but that is not the norm; that’s kind of the exception. I would say a ballpark would be nine months for an average.

Are you considering divorce and wondering how long does a divorce take? Contact experienced Jamestown divorce lawyer Scott F. Humble for a free confidential consultation. Let his 30+ years of experience work for you.

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