In Florida, the legal term for divorce is “Dissolution of Marriage.” When beginning the divorce or dissolution of marriage process, many people wonder how long it will take to finalize the divorce. The time it takes to get a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage varies based on the circumstances. There are, however, some general timeframes you can expect in certain situations.
Florida courts are not authorized to grant a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage until at least 20 days after the petition for divorce was filed. If the parties are in complete agreement on all items including property division and child time-sharing arrangements, a court may waive the 20-day requirement. However, a waiver is rare.
Generally, you can expect an uncontested divorce to take about 60 days. A final hearing is required even in an uncontested divorce, so the court’s schedule will dictate the final divorce date. Availability will typically vary by county and court. A divorce is uncontested if the divorcing couple is in complete agreement as to division of assets, property, and parenting time.
In contrast, contested divorces can take some additional time.
While most divorces do not actually go to trial, if there is disagreement as to any issue, the divorce is contested. In a contested divorce, the couple will go to a mediation conference and face pressure to come to an agreement. In the vast majority of cases, couples eventually settle, avoiding a trial. Once a settlement is reached, the parties must still attend a final hearing. In this scenario, the entire process can take five to six months.
In the rare event that your case goes to trial, you may wait for months or even years to get a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. The average Florida divorce involving a trial takes about one year from start to finish. However, because court schedules can vary, some couples may go to trial within five months, while other couples could wait years.
If you are considering divorce, a skilled Tampa Bay divorce attorney can help you understand the dissolution of marriage process before you move forward.