A key question many people have once they’ve started to think about divorce is how long the process will take. This is a complex question, and a hard one to answer. Unlike other states, New York doesn’t have a specific waiting period after a divorce filing before things wrap up. There are still many variables that could alter the amount of time it takes to dissolve a marriage. Generally speaking, uncontested marriages and those without children will go faster than more complex ones.
Do you have children?
If you and your spouse have kids, then parenting plans must be finalized before the divorce decree will be signed. This involves determinations of custody and visitation, as well as child support payments. For example, you’ll need to decide who will be the children’s primary caregiver, as well as whether one person will have legal decision-making authority or if the parents will share it.
Courts historically have granted primary custody to one parent with liberal visitation to the other, but nowadays more is known about the many benefits of shared custody. It is more standard now than in the past. There are also benefits of having the parents share legal decision-making authority whenever possible. It allows each parent more input into their child’s life and fosters the parent-child relationship.
Can you agree on property division?
Another key aspect of a divorce is the division of assets and debts. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that each spouse will get a fair amount of property. An important caveat is that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the shares are equal between spouses, only that they are “equitable” under the circumstances.
Property and debt splits are often hotly contested, and the back-and-forth about assets sometimes drags out longer than custody determinations. This also includes the decision about whether alimony (sometimes known as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance”) is appropriate under the circumstances.
It can take even longer to fairly apportion property if there are difficult-to-value assets like a family-owned business, retirement accounts, pensions, collectibles, timeshares, stock holdings and others to consider.
Are you thinking of divorce?
Of course, these are not the only considerations when a divorce is in the works, and these are not the only things that can drag out the process. Your divorce lawyer can help you make sense of your own needs and desires where the divorce is concerned. Then you can collectively create a plan to move forward towards reaching your goals.