How Long Does a Divorce Take in Massachusetts?

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

This is a common question by potential clients who are seeking a divorce. Unfortunately, the answer will vary greatly based on each person’s individual circumstances. For example, a divorce involving a couple with no dependents will typically take less time vs a situation involving minor children — but that is not always the case.

If both sides can agree on a negotiated “Separation Agreement,” the process will run a lot faster in contrast to a litigated “Complaint for Divorce.” In the latter scenario, a judge will typically make a final decision on property division, child support, etc. at a final hearing. However, if during the Complaint for Divorce process, both parties are able to work things out before trial, the case can always be converted into a Joint Petition for Divorce or an agreed to “Separation Agreement,” thus avoiding a protracted divorce proceeding.

In a Joint Petition for Divorce or an agreed to Separation Agreement, a couple will work out their differences on all issues, come to an agreement on all terms, and then request a court date. Court dates are usually scheduled approximately 6-8 weeks from when they are requested. Once the court hearing for the uncontested divorce occurs, the parties will likely be divorced within 90-120 days depending on the final form of their petition and final agreement.

However, if there are areas where both parties cannot amicably agree on all issues or terms, a case may be scheduled for Trial and a final hearing held to resolve all outstanding issues between the litigating parties. This process will take significantly longer and unfortunately, be much more costly to both divorce litigants.

Depending on where your divorce actions stand, it can take as little as three months (with a Joint Petition), or six months (the typical Pre Trial Conference Date) with an agreed to Separation agreement, or up to 12-14 months if a divorce trial is necessary to resolve your case.

Cooperation by both parties is key in the negotiation process. Items such as alimony, child custody, parenting schedules, child support, and distribution of assets can all become hotly contested issues, with the potential to cause a delay in the case. Regardless of your situation, you should always seek an experienced family law attorney to help you in the negotiation process.

If you are a resident of Lowell, MA and surrounding areas, and are in need of a divorce attorney, contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation. We will be happy to assist.

The Law Offices of Bruce A. Gage

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