There’s an old joke about lawyers that goes a little something like this: “When you ask an attorney any question, the answer is always the same: ‘It depends.’”

There’s a lot of truth in that joke. Personally, I always tell people “it depends” when they ask how long a divorce will take, because, honestly, it really does depend.

The absolute minimum you can expect from filing divorce documents to the judge signing the divorce decree is 30–45 days.

That’s the shortest amount of time you can expect. And this only happens if someone defaults, or if you agree on everything before filing anything with the court.

On the other hand, divorces very often take longer than 45 days to finalize. Here are a few scenarios and time lines:

  1. If we go to mediation and get an agreement there, file the necessary paperwork, and have the judge sign everything, that process takes, on average, between 4 and 6 months.
  2. If we go to court for temporary orders, then mediation and come to an agreement in mediation, that process usually takes around 6 months.
  3. If we go to trial, it will take at least 1 year, and often longer.

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