New York couples who are considering divorce might be concerned with how long the actual process will last. While it can depend on many specifics, divorce can take from just a few months to several years. In the end, how long the process turns out to be will depend on the couple and their ability to work together, compromise and negotiate.
In amicable cases, where the couple has no children and few assets, a DIY divorce might be the best route. In this option, the couple fills out the necessary documents, files them and then waits until the court provides approval. While the length of this process might vary, the average wait for DIY divorce is about two or three months. If the couple is still amicable but there are some disagreements over assets, the couple might choose mediation or arbitration. Mediation provides the couple with a neutral third party to help them come to an agreement, but it is not binding. Arbitration uses a neutral third party to make the decision for the couple. These two processes take longer than a DIY divorce and can go from a few months to years, depending on the couple.
When things are more complicated or the couple cannot get along, the process becomes a negotiated settlement. In this case, each spouse’s lawyer communicates with the other lawyer to negotiate a settlement. If they cannot reach an agreement on some of the issues, the couple will go to court. Because setting a court date can take time, this process might take a year, with some cases taking three or four years.
In most divorce cases, the parties can benefit from having their own lawyers. These professionals can offer guidance about the state process and laws. A lawyer can also help a client fight for a fair settlement.