You decided, and the divorce is imminent. You never thought your marriage would end this way, but now you just want it over as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the timeline is not entirely up to you. Your spouse gets an equal say in what is about to happen, and the timeline depends on their reaction and cooperation. However, there are portions of the process you can control, mainly the petition.
To file for a divorce, you need to compose a petition and file it with the court. The petition is the divorce decree or a compilation of the reasons you are filing. This initial form is your opportunity to stipulate marital assets, personal assets, proposed custody arrangements, and any other necessary items. Your lawyer will help you fill out the forms.
Once filed, the court requires that you notify your spouse of the petition. You do not have to hand deliver the paperwork. You can hire a service to deliver the items for you. However, it is necessary that your spouse receives the notice of divorce. If they are difficult to find or purposefully avoiding being served, then a judge may intervene or allow you to publish the notification in a public publication, like a newspaper, but the court typically reserves this option for extreme circumstances.
Once your spouse receives the petition, they have a certain amount of time to respond. They can sign the paperwork and agree to all the terms laid out, or they can write a response, stating their disagreement with the petition and what specifically they disagree with. Their response will probably mandate how long the divorce will take to resolve.
Contested or Uncontested
If your spouse disagrees with the original petition, then they technically contest the divorce, and they will stipulate why they challenge the paperwork in their response. Contested divorces may require longer proceedings because they may require mediation or a full-scale trial. For contested divorces, a timeline of six months to a year or more is not uncommon.
If the original petition is uncontested, then that means your spouse agrees to everything in the paperwork. It is possible to settle these uncontested proceedings in one to two months because they are amicable.
Unfortunately, the timeline for divorce is unpredictable. Much of the process depends on the cooperation between the spouses. If you are interested in learning more about the divorce process, then contact a local divorce attorney and explain your situation.