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How Long Does the Average Divorce Take in Florida? What Could Drag Out the Process?

Preparing for a divorce? There are a lot of legal, financial, and logistical issues to consider. It can be a very complicated process. You may be wondering: How long does the average divorce take in Florida? The best answer is that there is no true “average”—anything from a few months to more than a year is within the normal range. At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, we have deep family law expertise. Here, our Stuart divorce lawyer explains how long the process takes in Florida

The Length of Divorce Process in Florida

The Length of Divorce Process Can Vary Widely: A Few Months to Multiple Years

How long you can expect the divorce process to take in Florida depends on a wide range of case-specific factors. On the short end, it could take as little as one to two months—especially if you already have an agreement in place or have a very simple case. In Florida you have to wait 20 days from the day you file for divorce before it can be finalized. On the long end, divorce litigation can take multiple years if a trial is required. The most important factor in the duration of the divorce process is whether or not the case is settled:

  • Uncontested Divorce: In Florida, an uncontested divorce speeds through the legal system more quickly than contested cases. Couples who agree on all aspects of their separation can finalize their divorce in as little as a few months.
  • Contested Divorce: Conversely, a contested divorce arises when spouses disagree on one or more key issues. This type of divorce can take significantly longer, ranging from several months to multiple years.

Know the Law: Florida has a 20-Day Waiting Period to Finalize a Divorce

You cannot get a “same-day” divorce in Martin County even if you already have worked out a settlement. Our state has a mandatory waiting period. Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.19), a 20-day waiting period from the time a divorce petition is filed until the divorce can be finalized. The “cooling-off period” is designed to give couples a chance to reconsider their decision to divorce and to ensure all legal paperwork is correctly processed.

Four Big Factors that Impact the Duration of the Divorce Process in Florida

What will determine if a divorce does or does not drag on? Once again, it is a case-specific issue. With that being said, divorces in Martin County that do tend to take longer than the average (six months or more) are generally slowed down for one or more of the following key reasons:

  • Assets: Dividing marital property is challenging. The more assets you have, the more difficult it can be to split up property in a divorce. Indeed, high-net-worth individuals or those with complex asset portfolios often face longer divorces due to the need for detailed valuation and comprehensive negotiations. Real estate, businesses, investments, and retirement accounts can slow down the process.
  • Children: For the most part, parents of young children and teenagers take longer to finalize their divorce than non-parents and parents with adult children. Working out a custody and/or child support arrangement can take time—even if the parents work well together.
  • Settlement: On average, a divorce that is settled is resolved far faster than a divorce that is litigated. As noted previously, uncontested divorces can be finalized fairly quickly. Contested divorces can take a long time. The willingness of both parties to negotiate and reach a settlement can drastically shorten the divorce timeline. When both spouses work collaboratively,  they can avoid a lengthier process.
  • Conflict/Dispute: Finally, conflict tends to slow down the divorce process. This is true regardless of whether or not your case is contested or uncontested. Disagreements over alimony, child support, or the division of marital assets can stall the process. For example, a divorcing couple with serious personal conflicts may even struggle to agree on how to start negotiations. It could take weeks or even months to set up mediation. On the other hand, a divorcing couple that is able to work together can move things forward more quickly.

Contact Our Stuart, FL, Divorce Attorney for a Confidential Consultation

At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, our Stuart, FL, divorce lawyer is a skilled, experienced advocate for clients. If you have any questions about the divorce process in Florida, we are here to help. Contact us today to arrange your strictly confidential, no-obligation initial consultation. From our Stuart office, we handle divorce cases throughout Martin County.

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