How Long Does It Take to Complete a Divorce?

by Mark Fitzpatrick

Divorce proceedings are never an enjoyable experience for either party. If you are entering into a divorce, you may want to know how long the divorce process may take. Although all divorces vary, knowing the general procedures and pace of divorce proceedings prepares you for the experience.

Agreed Terms

The overriding factor determining how long divorce proceedings will take is the extent to which terms have been agreed. If both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce, the division of the estate, child custody and alimony, the divorce proceedings will move quickly. If these factors are not agreed upon, the divorce proceedings will take longer.


Filing a complaint is the first hurdle in any divorce. A spouse must file a complaint in court. The complaint details why the spouse or spouses want to end the marriage. Both spouses should consult lawyers before and after a complaint is filed. This consultation with lawyers and possibly marriage counselors takes time before any divorce can start.


The court system takes time to process each case. Even if all terms are agreed upon, court dates, court proceedings, and legal processing may take weeks or months.

Time Frame

Many legal websites state that with agreed terms and a quick court process, the minimum amount of time it takes for a divorce to be completed is five to six months.

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About the Author

Mark Fitzpatrick began writing professionally in 2006. He has written in literary journals such as Read Herrings and provides written online guides for towns ranging from Seymour, Connecticut to Haines, Alaska. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Massachusetts.

Photo Credits

  • man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com