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How Long Does It Take To Finalize A Divorce?

How Long Does It Take To Finalize A Divorce?

How Long Does It Take To Finalize A Divorce?

Divorce is a process that can often feel lengthy and emotionally draining. In Missouri, the law stipulates a minimum 30-day period from the time all paperwork has been submitted in court, providing couples with a window to possibly reconsider their decision. However, the overall time it takes to finalize a divorce can vary greatly depending on various factors unique to your situation. With years of experience in family law, I, Scott A. Hamblin, stand ready to guide you through the intricacies of the divorce process. Call for a consultation, and I can help you determine how long it might take for you.

Factors Influencing the Duration of a Divorce Process

Contested Divorce

The length of the divorce process is largely dictated by whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the couple disagrees on one or more issues such as child support, custody or visitation, alimony or spousal maintenance, division of assets and allocation of debts. This disagreement not only prolongs the duration of the divorce but could also escalate the cost. Some high-asset divorces may require the assistance of evaluators or forensic accountants to scrutinize and decipher the couple’s financial information. In cases where custody is disputed, a guardian ad litem may be appointed by the court.

Uncontested Divorce

On the other hand, an uncontested divorce involves agreement from both parties on all issues before the divorce petition is filed. This type of divorce is generally quicker to finalize. In Missouri, an uncontested divorce can be obtained through a Default proceeding or Joint Petition. In a Default proceeding, one party files a petition for divorce, and the respondent has 30 days to file their answer. If the respondent agrees to all terms in the petition, a waiting period of 30 days ensues before a divorce order can be signed and issued. In a Joint Petition, both spouses file a petition for divorce together, which then directly proceeds to the final hearing before the judge.

Additional Factors Affecting Divorce Duration

Court Hearings and Level of Conflict

Certain issues may require court attention before a judgment can be issued. Urgent financial concerns, discovery disputes, allegations of abuse and similar matters will delay the case’s progress. Additionally, the level of conflict between the parties can significantly influence the duration of the divorce proceedings.

Court Caseload

The number of cases pending before the court can also affect the length of the divorce process. A heavy caseload or limited availability of the judge may extend the time it takes to finalize the divorce.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

Divorce is a complex process that impacts your emotions, finances, family and friends. Therefore, it is crucial to have an experienced lawyer by your side. As your advocate, I, Scott A. Hamblin, am committed to ensuring that your case proceeds as smoothly and quickly as possible. If you are considering filing for a divorce, do not hesitate to reach out to my office for a consultation to discuss your situation. With professional experience and compassionate understanding, I am prepared to guide you through this challenging time.

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