How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Pennsylvania?
There are many factors that determine how long a divorce will take. Some of them are related to the law and court procedures while others arise from the complexities of the case and the attitudes of the parties. These are just some of the many factors that could affect the speed of your divorce:
- No children and minimal property — Couples without minor children, a home, or accumulated assets can divorce by mutual consent. After the couple files their affidavits of consent, the court can grant a divorce as early as 90 days (as required by law) plus about one week to one month.
- Whether you have been separated already — Couples who have been separated for two years can file for a no-fault divorce by citing “irreconcilable differences.” This eliminates the need to prove marital misconduct, which can require time-consuming and embarrassing litigation.
- The court calendar — You may have to wait to schedule your hearing, and wait some more each time you need to go to court. The more issues you need to litigate, the more court appearances you must make — and the longer your case can drag out.
- Your children — If you have no children, it’s one less issue to decide. If you do have children, you must settle child support and custody through negotiations, mediation, or trial in open court. Your expectations about these issues and your ability to compromise will greatly affect the length of your proceedings.
- Your property — High-net-worth divorces take longer than divorces with modest marital estates. The complexity of your assets and debts, the transparency of each party’s financial disclosures, and each spouse’s decision whether to fight over every piece of property can shorten or lengthen the divorce process.
- The existence of a valid prenuptial agreement — Marital agreements can facilitate the distribution of property and even resolve custody issues. On the other hand, if the agreement is suspect and a spouse decides to challenge it, a prenup becomes another matter to litigate.
- The spouses’ ability to support themselves — Will either spouse request alimony? Two-career couples who are already self-supporting have a significant advantage over couples who must dispute alimony. Where one spouse has been out of the workforce for a significant amount of time or where childrearing responsibilities will prevent a spouse from becoming self-supporting in the near future, alimony can be a contentious issue.
- The extent to which you can work cooperatively with your spouse — Perhaps the most important factor is whether each party can put emotions aside and work productively toward a settlement. When spouses use the divorce process to get back at their spouse for indignities in their marriage, they are in for a long fight.
- The experience of your attorney — Working with a lawyer who has successfully managed divorces similar to yours improves your chances of a timely and favorable result.
In practice, finalizing a divorce in Pennsylvania generally takes from four months to two years. How long your divorce takes will depend on factors within and out of your control.
The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney & Associates, P.C. handles all aspects of divorce in Pennsylvania. Call us at 215.493.3360 or contact our Yardley office online to schedule a consultation. We serve clients from Newtown, Washington Crossing, Richboro and throughout Bucks County.