why does divorce take so long

Why Does Divorce Take So Long?

You’ve probably heard it before- divorce seems to take forever. So why does divorce take so long? I’m sure you want to get the process over with as quickly as possible, but just like everything else in life, this too takes time to complete. The average length of time for divorce is one (1) year, though divorces can take much less time and of course, much more time.  There are however, several common reasons that may be why your divorce is taking longer than you’d like for it to.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Uncontested divorce is when both parties agree as to all issues. Oftentimes, these types of cases do not involve children or have very limited issues to address.  These divorces are much simpler to settle, and therefore take much less time to finish.

Contested divorce is when there are issues or disagreements about the settlement terms within the divorce, forcing the process to take longer. The most common issues involve child custody and support (child support and/or alimony), as well as the division of property, assets and debt.

The Period of Discovery

This stage of the divorce takes, on average, 60 to 90 days. Its purpose is to allow the parties to gather and exchange all relevant paperwork and documentation to resolve the case or go to Trial.

Read Changing Custody Agreements In New Jersey


A spouse may submit a motion for pendente lite support, which is a formal written request for temporary support, to get them through the end of the divorce until the signed agreement takes effect.  The court then will have to decide if the motion is warranted for the amount requested. The other spouse then has a certain amount of time to respond to the request. And then the original filer of the motion can then again submit a final reply. This process can take approximately one (1) month to resolve.

Another motion that may be filed is for temporary custody, parenting time and any other relevant, time sensitive issue.

A ‘Winner Takes All’ Mentality

Because family law’s philosophy is to reflect fairness for both spouses, if one spouse’s goal is to take all the property and assets (whether it be due to spite or fueled emotions from the divorce itself), this will only slow down the process a great deal. The vast majority of the time, this approach does not work, and only ends up making the case take longer and continue to raise attorney fees as the case drags on. Due to this, the best way to get through the division of assets is to avoid unreasonable and unfair requests, knowing that it not only will most likely not end up in your favor, and simply make the entire process take longer to resolve.

Scroll to Top