Learn how long a divorce can take and what factors and issues can prolong divorce proceedings from noted PA divorce lawyer Lee Schwartz. A divorce can be completed in as little as 4-6 weeks or can take years. Find out why, and how you can help the divorce process move along more quickly.
No-Fault Divorce in PA
A “no-fault” divorce arises from a couple’s mutual wish to dissolve their marriage. Generally, no-fault divorces proceed quickly as long as the couple can agree to property settlement, custody arrangements, and support. There are two types of no-fault divorces in PA.
Mutual Consent Divorce
Once a divorce complaint has been filed, served, and consented to by both parties, a 90-day period starts during which the couple should work out child custody, child support, spousal support, and distribution of marital assets. If the couple cannot agree on any of these issues, they may have to litigate, which will take as much time as the court’s docket requires.
A separation divorce requires the consent of only one of the parties and may be the only option available if the other party refuses to agree to divorce or cannot be found. Once the parties have been separated for two years, the court will grant a divorce to the party seeking it unilaterally.
If one of the parties has been institutionalized for mental health reasons for 18 months or more, the other may seek a no-fault divorce on that basis.
Uncontested Divorce Proceedings in PA
“Uncontested” is the term used when both parties agree to divorce and also when the parties can agree on a resolution to issues arising from the dissolution of their marriage such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and distribution of marital assets. If this describes your divorce, chances are your divorce proceedings will
A divorce can be uncontested in that both parties wish to divorce, yet still require litigation of any of these issues. Litigation can extend the divorce process considerably.
To avoid delays in divorce caused by litigation, parties who cannot resolve their differences on their own should consider entering into divorce mediation. An experienced mediator can help the parties to arrive at a compromise.
Fault Divorces in PA
Fault-based divorces can often proceed more quickly than the no-fault divorce waiting periods allow. The grounds for at-fault divorce in PA are:
- Desertion (one spouse absent for at least one year)
- Cruel and Barbarous Treatment
- Imprisonment for at least two years
- Indignities such as verbal or emotional abuse, public shaming, mistreatment, and severe debt.
Although fault-based divorces can proceed more quickly than no-fault divorces once the grounds for divorce are proven, they are much more costly both in terms of attorney fees and costs and emotionally.
The type of divorce you choose and the willingness of you both to agree on division of marital property and marital debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support as applicable will determine how long your divorce will take in Pennsylvania. Couples can be divorced in as little as three months or can litigate marital issues for years.
If you wish to divorce but aren’t sure which type of divorce is best for your situation, call us. We have over 20 years of experience helping people resolve issues arising from dissolution of their marriage. Let us help you.