One of the most common questions clients ask their family law attorney is “How long will my case take?” The answer to this question, like most things in family law, is often difficult to predict. The best answer is that it depends on you and your spouse or opposing party. If you have discussed the situation with them, and have some idea of where you want the case to go, your case will be resolved much more quickly than if the entire divorce is a surprise or if the situation is contentious. If you and your spouse are in agreement on some issues and just want to make sure all of the loose ends are tied up and all of your documents are drafted property, you may be interested in an uncontested divorce, which is often the quickest way to resolve your case. However, even if you and your spouse are in agreement on most of the issues in your case, things like a home appraisal or business valuation may slow down the process if they become necessary in your case.
The length your marriage, the amount you own and owe, and whether you have children are all factors that will impact how long your case will take to complete, as decisions will need to me made about how all of these things will be handled. Additionally, temporary issues may arise while your case is pending, which may add additional mediations and hearings. These temporary issues, like timesharing, alimony, or attorney’s fees, will add to the amount of time it takes your case to resolve. The best thing you can do to help your family law attorney resolve your case in a timely manner is to communicate regarding what you want out of the case and what you expect as the case is pending; keeping your attorney up to date on any changes is also crucial to a timely resolution, as unexpected changes can also result in additional motions and hearings. An attorney who has a firm understanding of their client’s goals and situation will be better able to work towards resolving your case.