One of the most frequently asked questions from a person considering divorce is “How long will it take until I am divorced?

Unfortunately this is also one of the most difficult questions to answer.  Every case if different, every couple is different and every Court calendar is different.  These are all factors that can affect the timing of a divorce.

The first step in moving forward with a Divorce is filing a Complaint for Divorce.  Once you sign the Complaint, it is forwarded to the Court for filing.  This process usually takes between two to three weeks.  After your Complaint has been filed with the Court, you then must serve your spouse with a filed copy.  After your spouse receives the Complaint, he or she then has 35 days to file a response with the Court and must furnish a copy to you.

After your spouse files a response, the Court will schedule a Case Management Conference within 2-3 months.  At this conference a time line for your case will be established, including deadlines for the exchange of information.  At that time the Court also issues a date for the next Court appearance, the Early Settlement Panel (ESP).  The ESP typically takes place two to three months after the Case Management Conference.

After the ESP, if your case has not settled, you will be required to attend Economic Mediation.  The mediation is typically at the mediator’s office and scheduling depends upon the availability of each party’s attorney as well as the mediator.  Most often the economic mediation will occur within a month or two after the ESP.

Following Economic Mediation, your case will then be scheduled for an Intensive Settlement Conference.  This usually occurs within one to two months after the mediation.  However, please note, some Courts have different procedures and the Intensive Settlement Conference may happen at different times.  It is also possible that your case could be scheduled for multiple settlement conferences.

If, after all of these steps your case is not settled, you will be scheduled for a trial.  Depending on the Court’s calendar, your trial could be scheduled within the same year you file your Complaint for Divorce or it could be scheduled sometime within the following year.

If your case is bitterly contested and there is no chance for settlement, this outline describes all of the steps that will be taken in your divorce.  It also sets out a fairly accurate timetable.

However, as previously stated, every case is different and every divorcing couple is different.  If you and your spouse are able to agree upon the terms of your divorce it could be finalized within months.  If you and your spouse come to an agreement about all of the issues in your case you could then be divorced within weeks, no matter what step in the process you are at.

There is no standard timeframe in which a divorce will be finalized and every case is finalized at a different point.  Willingness of both parties to compromise is perhaps the largest factor in determining how quickly you can finalize your divorce.

If you have questions about Divorce or the process involved, please contact our office today.  (908) 879-9444 or visit our website