Judge looking at lawyersThis is the next post in my series of how long a divorce may take in Melbourne and other Florida areas. My last article discussed how long an uncontested divorce case may last. It is important to understand that while the uncontested process may seem straightforward, if the spouses make mistakes then their case may be delayed. Retaining an experienced attorney to handle the matter can help to ensure that your case proceeds through the system without an error. In this article I will discuss how long the contested process can last. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a family law lawyer.

The length of an uncontested divorce will depend on the nature of the disputes

Spouses who wish to end the marriage must go through the contested divorce process if they agree on any issue in regard to the end of their marriage. The number and nature of the disagreements will determine how long the divorce may take. If the spouses disagree on one simple issue related to property division, or a minor aspect related to child visitation, then the Court may resolve the matter quickly at an initial hearing. If, however, there are substantial disagreements then the case may take a period of months to more than a year. The types of disagreements which can drag a case out often involve child custody, asset division, and spousal support. Exactly how long a case will take is always going to depend on the specifics of the situation.

The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose Jack and Jill are in agreement on all issues except for whether Jack should be jointly responsible for a $10,000 personal note in Jill’s name. This is the type of issue which the Court may possibly decide on the basis of pleadings submitted by the parties. The Court will look at when the note was taken out and evidence surrounding it. While the Court may possibly hold an evidentiary hearing, if the Judge decides the matter through Motion practice then the case may end within a few months. Now suppose that there are several other issues which the parties disagree on. It will be necessary to conduct discovery and, as a result, many months may pass before the matter resolves at trial.

An experienced attorney can assist Florida spouses in understanding whether an issue is worth litigating

Divorce cases are often prolonged due to spouses fighting over issues which are not worth litigating. The reasons which it may not be worth it to litigate an issue include situations in which the legal fees involved actually exceed the amount in dispute. They also include situations where the parties wish to disagree even though it is quite foreseeable as to how the Court will rule on the issue. Retaining an experienced attorney can help to prevent you from extending your case unnecessarily. Counsel will give you an honest opinion as to whether it is worth it to move forward on a particular issue or whether it is in your best interests to settle. By having an objective advisor, who is on your side, you help to ensure that you are making the correct choices.

I am a Melbourne divorce lawyer who practices in no area other than family law. I understand that this is an important time in your life and my office will make your case a priority. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.