In Virginia, there are a lot of different options when it comes to divorce, and the path that you choose has a definite impact on how long it actually takes for you to get that final divorce decree signed and in your hand. Whenever a client asks me how long a divorce typically takes, I’m nervous to answer, because the truth really is that it totally depends.
We like to joke sometimes and say that how much a divorce costs and how long it takes is directly proportional to how difficult the husband is—but, of course, there’s some real truth in that statement.
Your husband doesn’t have to agree with you in order to get a divorce, but if he digs in his heels, he can slow the process way, way down. Likewise, if you aren’t able to reach an agreement about the way your assets and liabilities are going to be divided, the process will also move along much more slowly. Of course, that’s not to say that you should sign an agreement just for the sake of moving things along. You should always, always, always remember that your separation agreement is your blueprint to your future life, and is definitely the best, most efficient means to give you the freshest new start possible. Sometimes, it’s worth fighting over an issue for the sake of your future, but it is important to keep some perspective and ask yourself, “Is this issue really worth going to court over?”
It’s probably safe to say that the average divorce takes over a year but less than two to complete. The average divorce, though, is an uncontested no fault divorce where the parties have entered into an agreement. In a divorce that is mostly litigated (where the parties fight over the terms in court), it can take much longer.
It’s hard to come up with a black and white answer, because there are so many factors that affect how long a divorce takes. Most of the time, things start out contentious, but they end up simmering down. So, even though you’re probably scared today that your divorce will end up being a long, drawn out affair, rest assured that most of them don’t wind up that way. In most cases, the reality of actually handling the divorce is far easier than the nightmare of imagining it.