Divorce Cases In New York Take As Long As 9 To 12 Months On Average

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A contested divorce in New York could last as long as nine to 12 months on average to complete, while an uncontested one could only take around three months of your time.

Couples should consider mediation to avoid being entangled in a lengthy settlement. If you are looking for divorce lawyers in Long Island, some firms offer this service aside from legal representation. Choose an attorney who can not only be assertive for your case but also minimize the overall financial burden as much as possible.

Why Divorce Takes Long

Even if you and your spouse mutually agree on a divorce, it could still take longer depending on the volume of cases being handled by a court or judge. Contested divorce cases obviously take longer, sometimes even dragging on for more than 12 months, because of different issues that were brought into the case.

Child custody, division of debt and joint property, and spousal support are among the most common problems. You should expect your case to be longer than the average timeline if there are other issues that are unique to your case. Some couples just can’t seem to agree on certain terms even with divorce mediation, so bringing the case to trial remains the only possible option.

When your divorces goes to court, you may also need to hire a financial adviser to determine your risk in case the judge doesn’t rule in your favor. Child custody evaluators also becomes necessary at this point, especially if you want sole custody of your kids.

Divorce Without Legal Counsel

unhappy husband and wife

You could file for a divorce without a lawyer, but DIY divorces aren’t recommended even for an uncontested one. Most divorce cases aren’t always peaceful. Some people intentionally make it harder for their spouses to become single again, particularly if the divorce was triggered on the grounds of adultery or money-related problems. Remember that consulting an attorney not only facilitates the case, but also ensures your finances after a divorce.

Take note that there is a mandatory residency period whether or not you file a divorce petition without legal representation. Either you or your spouse should have lived in New York for at least 12 months before you could have a divorce. If you weren’t married in the state, the couple should have lived there for at least two years before being eligible for a divorce.

New York judges don’t follow a formal waiting period for a decree of divorce, since the timeline varies from one case to another. It’s possible to file a petition for uncontested cases if couples have lived separately for at least one year, while contested divorce can be based on different reasons from adultery to abandonment.


Whether or not you expect a lengthy divorce, having a lawyer to represent you will be necessary especially if you have kids and different properties or assets. An uncontested divorce could turn sour quickly when both parties fail to reach an agreement on a fair and reasonable division of marital properties, aside from determining child custody.

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