How long will it take to obtain a divorce?
An uncontested divorce can be finalized in as little as a matter of weeks, thanks to legislation passed in recent years that allows waiver of the ninety-day waiting period as soon as agreement is reached. But an adversarial divorce process can drag on for a year or even more.
Dissolution of a marriage is a serious matter in Connecticut, and the presumption is that the end result should be fair and equitable for both parties. Every settlement must be reviewed and approved by a judge; and if settlement is not reached by the trial date, then a judge will make all decisions regarding financial and custodial matters for you.
It helps a great deal on reducing timeframe when both parties are eager to finalize a divorce and wish to address all financial matters in an amicable fashion, as well when there are no disputes over custody and care of minor children. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you may be able to avoid costly court appearances altogether during the pendente lite stage of the divorce process.
Many couples also choose mediation when the issues between them are minimal and they are both amenable to discussion regarding global resolution – mediation can help decrease the timeframe and cost of divorce if both parties utilize their sessions (and homework in between sessions) well. Of course, if you can no longer stand the sight or sound of your spouse, sitting in a room with just a mediator to referee your shouting matches may be less efficient than going through the traditional divorce litigation process – which generally involves motion filings during the pendente lite phase, discovery, depositions, negotiations and settlement conferences, pretrial, and trial.
There are many ways to speed up or slow down a divorce proceeding. Making a settlement offer early on sometimes works, but that may at times serve only to ratchet up the expectations of the opposing party.
For financially complex divorces, when marital assets are hidden in sheltered accounts or are illiquid for certain time periods, it may be necessary to conduct investigations and request the Court authorize more intensive discovery methods, or to require independent financial appraisals of real estate, art, or jewelry or forensic accounting of business assets and other holdings. Such efforts may take considerable time and involve considerable expense.
When contested custodial matters exist, the Court’s intervention will be early on. Legal decision making, physical custody, parenting access, child support, educational expenses, and continuation of health care coverage will be important issues for the Court. When legal and physical custody and parenting access is unresolved, the Court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to investigate and make recommendations on what is in the best interests of the minor children. Contested custody divorces often take longer to reach conclusion and are quite costly for both parents.
There are only two ways a divorce can become finalized: one is by reaching a Separation Agreement that is approved by the Court, the other is through a divorce trial. Though Connecticut is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that there is no need to make accusations against the spouse being sued for divorce in order to obtain a divorce, fault nevertheless comes into play when the Court is considering appropriate custodial arrangements and division of the marital estate at trial.
Hirsch Legal, LLC is one of Connecticut’s top divorce and family law practices. You need an attorney on your side with experience in high-risk negotiations and litigation to ensure your rights are protected through your divorce and family law matter. Attorney Carmina K. Hirsch (formerly Tessitore) has the experience you need. Contact Hirsch Legal, LLC today to schedule your free and confidential consultation.