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How Long Will Divorce Take?

Having practiced in Northern Kentucky for over 20 years, I can honestly say that as short as 7 days and as long as 7 years.  I also know that is a terrible answer.  The average divorce takes 3-10 months, which is still a fairly big range.  Kentucky law requires a separation of 60 days before a divorce can be finalized.  If minor children are involved, then you must be separated 60 days after an answer has been filed or the Respondent has been served. At the beginning of a divorce it is hard to predict how long it will take. Your attorney can better judge length after the case is underway. Some factors that affect length are:

  • The number and complexity of contested issues
  • The parties' ability to work together
  • The court's calendar
  • The lawyer representing the other party

The case begins when your divorce complaint is filed with the court. Your spouse has 20 days after receiving the complaint to respond by filing an "answer." If an answer is filed, the case is contested. If no answer is filed, the case is uncontested. In contested cases, a status conference is held about four months after the complaint is filed. A pretrial conference is held two to three months after that. If an agreement can be reached, the matter may be finalized. If not, a trial is scheduled. Depending on the length of the trial, the courts in Northern Kentucky of Boone, Campbell and Kenton generally will schedule your trial about 3-6 months after the Pretrial Conference.  The length of the trial will depend on the complexity of the case as well as the number of issues which are in dispute.  For example, if the parties cannot agree on (1) custody, (2) support, (3) division of assets, (4) division of debts, (5) credit for non-marital property, and (6) spousal support / maintenance, then it will be an extensive trial often lasting more than one day.  The more issues upon which the parties can agree, the shorter the trial. I've been involved in multiple day trials as well as 15 minute trials where there are minimal and simple issues.  If asking for a short hearing of an hour or less, you will likely get a hearing date closer to 3 months.  If asking for multiple days, you may wait 6 months or more to schedule your trial. It is often a good idea to attempt to resolve the case through mediation and settlement discussion prior to trial, and even before the pretrial.  Judges appreciate, and some demand, the effort to resolve without hearings.  If nothing else, the mediation may allow the parties to narrow the issues. Your attorney should be able to give you a better sense of timing after a full analysis of your case.  For consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at the Bouldin Law Firm by email at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).  

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