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What Takes So Long For Divorce?

Divorces in Kentucky can be completed in a very short time if both parties agree on the issues.  Divorces that take an extended period of time, typically have a few issues in common.  If the parties have children in common, there is a mandatory 60 waiting period after filing before a dissolution can be finalized. First is discovery.  If both parties do not have all of the information regarding financial assets, debts and expenses, then that information must be found out through the discovery process.  This generally involves verified financial disclosures, interrogatories and demand for documents.  It may also involve additional discovery of depositions and information seeking fro collateral sources.  If one party is not forthcoming with discovery, this process can takes months to complete. Second is areas of dispute.  Areas such as division of assets and debts are seldom a major cause of delay, unless there is a claim for non-marital interest in assets.  A longer delay may be caused by spousal support, also known as maintenance.  A party paying maintenance may not want to go to court for fear of increasing the maintenance or they may want to wait for the spouse to become employed.  The party receiving maintenance may not want to go to court for fear of losing the temporary maintenance. The most common cause for delay is custody dispute.  When a custody dispute arises, the parties may not agree on many issues.  A court may issue temporary orders, which will be in place until a final hearing is held.  During the time when the hearing a is pending, often a Guardian Ad Litem, GAL for short, is appointed to represent the best interest of the minor child or children.  The GAL will likely interview the children, parents, guardians and may review other information from teachers, doctors or care providers.   If requested, the Court may order a custodial evaluation which is generally conducted by a psychologist.  This generally involves a series of meetings, conferences, and interviews with all parties and children.  The evaluator will also review any documentation provided by the parties and utilize testing procedures to aid in determining the best interest.  Those tests may include IQ, parenting assessment, psychological inventory, MMPI and others. If you are involved in a protracted divorce, you should speak to your attorney regarding realistic time frames and the reasons for extended time.  Often times the reasons are valid. If there are no good reasons, your lawyer should be able to give you an estimate of completion.  If you do not have an attorney or need a consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call at 859-581-6453/ 581-MIKE.

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