03 Dec 18

How long does it take for a divorce to be final?

| by

Last Updated on

Going through a divorce can be an exhausting process. It’s not just the time spent in court or with an attorney, but rather the emotional toll that it takes on all involved. If you’re in the midst of a divorce or simply contemplating one, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of how long the process will take. Unfortunately, there’s more than one answer to this question. Understanding how long your divorce will take to be finalized means understanding a bit about the different circumstances under which a divorce might be granted in New York and how those circumstances might make your particular divorce take more or less time than others.

Minimum Time

While there are dozens of variables that can impact the amount of time it takes for a divorce to finalize, the most often-quoted minimum figure is about six weeks. In this case, the grounds for divorce would be New York’s version of a “no-fault” divorce claim, which requires that the marital relationship has been irreparably broken for at least a six month period prior to filing. For this six-week figure to be accurate, both parties would have to be willing to work quickly and efficiently, waiving statutory periods for response and having all of their paperwork filed in an incredibly timely manner. Even in such cases, the six-week figure might not be realistic if the courts are backed up or if there are even minor issues with the filing.

It might be more realistic to look at a period of ninety days as a more likely minimum amount of time. This takes into account both the amount of time the non-filing party has to respond to the petition (forty days), as well as the time needed for the divorce to work its way through the court and for all of the necessary paperwork to be signed. Ninety days still assumes that both parties are willing to work together in an agreeable manner and to have virtually everything settled before bringing the matter to the court.

More Complex Divorces

It is not unusual for a divorce in New York to take more than a year to complete. This is necessary, for example, for those divorces that have grounds of abandonment or that are dependant upon a legal separation for grounds. Because the statutory waiting period for these types of divorce is one year, it’s impossible for the divorce to take less than three hundred and sixty-five days to complete.

While issues like cruel and inhuman treatment or adultery do not necessarily have the same waiting period attached, they can still take a great deal of time to process. Both types of divorce do require the gathering of evidence, and adultery, in particular, can be very difficult to prove in court. As such, it’s often very unlikely to see divorce under these grounds to take much less time than those divorces that have the one-year waiting time attached to them.


The figures above also assume that the divorces in question are relatively straightforward. Any arguments about custody or the disposition of property can cause a divorce to stretch out for years or even months. Remember, it’s not just the amount of time that it takes the two parties to come to an agreement that adds more time to the process, but also the calendar of the court. Given that court dates are often weeks apart, even a small disagreement can push back the amount of time that it takes for a divorce to become finalized by quite a bit.

There’s not a quick answer for how long it will take a divorce to be finalized. It may take as little as a few weeks or it might take more than a year – it all depends on the grounds on which the divorce petition was filed, the commitments of the court, and the ability of the parties to work together to resolve their issues. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say how long any given divorce will take to finish even if it sames like it’s similar to many others that have occurred before. With the help of a skilled attorney, though, individuals may receive the type of guidance that can help a divorce to become finalized in as little time as possible.

Comments are closed here.