How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced?

One of the first questions clients usually ask is how long the process is going to take.

The short answer is: "About 6 weeks to get divorced, and another 6 weeks to obtain proof of that fact."

The longer answer is that it depends on how cooperative your spouse is, and if any other factors exist which might prolong the process.

If Your Spouse Cooperates

We file our cases in Manhattan regardless of the parties' residence (which is specifically authorized by law.) We do this because Manahattan tends to be faster, sometimes much faster, than filing cases elsewhere.

The timeframe is that once your divorce papers are filed, the divorce is usually granted within about 4-6 weeks, and the papers can be retrieved about 6-8 weeks thereafter.

The date of divorce is the date that the judgment is granted. That date controls your tax filing status.

It is also the date after which you can re-marry, though few people are in such a rush to re-marry that they can't wait to obtain a copy of the divorce judgment a few weeks later.

Example timeframe:

  • You come to my office on March 1.
  • We prepare the papers and your spouse signs the consent form (or settlement agreement) on March 9.
  • My office files the papers with the Court on March 10.
  • Most likely, the divorce would be granted sometime in April.
  • The papers would be sent to the County Clerk for filing and scanning.
  • Most likely, the divorce would be available for pickup sometime in June.
Note: this is not a guarantee. Occasionally, the papers take longer to get signed. Rarely does one get an explanation. The court is a "black box" and once the papers are filed you simply have to wait for a notification that the divorce has been granted.

If Your Spouse Does Not Cooperate

If your spouse refuses to cooperate, then he/she would need to be personally served with the papers.

In that case, we must arrange for your spouse to be served. How long that takes depends on how difficult it is to track your spouse down. Normally it doesn't take more than a few days.

Assuming your spouse is served in New York State, he/she will have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. Out of state, your spouse will have 30 days to respond.

Once that time period expires, there's another 20 day "waiting period" that applies specifically to matrimonial (divorce) lawsuits.

When the wait period expires, we will prepare and file the papers for a default divorce.

Once those papers are submitted, the process is the same as above - typically, you must wait about 6 weeks for the Judgment of Divorce to be signed, and another 6-8 weeks for it to be scanned and made available for retrieval from the County Clerk's office.

Q: I have more questions. What do I do?

Give Maria a call: 646-535-5604.