One of the questions I hear most often is, "how long will it take to get divorced?" While it's a simple enough question, the answer is not as simple, but always starts with, "schedule a consultation with a family law attorney as soon as possible."
The timeline for your divorce will depend on two main factors: (1) The type of divorce you get, and (2) if you have kids.
Generally, there are three main types of divorce. The first is based on Louisiana Civil Code article 102 and is considered a "no fault" divorce. This doesn't mean that the parties have to be free from fault. It just means that neither party has to prove fault in order to get divorced. One spouse first files a petition for divorce; then the spouses live separate and apart from one another; and after a requisite period of time living separate and apart, one files a motion to grant the divorce. If the parties have children together, the requisite waiting period is 365 days and if they don't have children, it is 180 days.
The second type of divorce is based on Louisiana Civil Code article 103(1) and is also considered a "no fault" divorce. The parties first live separate and apart from one another without filing anything; then once the requisite period of time living separate and apart has passed, one files a petition for divorce; and after a hearing or a submission of certain pleadings and affidavits, they will be granted a divorce. Like the 102 divorce, if the parties have children together, the requisite waiting period is 365 days and if not, it is 180 days.
The third type of divorce is also based on Louisiana Civil Code article 103. It can be granted based on adultery, spousal or child abuse, or the incarceration of either party. The aggrieved party files a petition for divorce on one or more of those grounds and after a hearing, if the aggrieved spouse can adequately prove the fault, they will be granted a divorce immediately without a waiting period.
In sum, the divorce timeline can range from approximately 1-6 weeks, to 13 months or more, depending on the cooperation of the parties and the court's availability and scheduling.
Of course, in addition to navigating the various options for divorce, there are strategy considerations to make when filing for divorce -- some of which require legal action sooner, rather than later. Some couples delay consulting an attorney or attempt to file for divorce on their own, only to learn that they filed for the least efficient type of divorce; lost out on additional alimony because of the timing or type of divorce they obtained; or decreased their share of the marital property because of the timing of their filing. As a result, the divorce process may take more time and cost more money than if those parties had consulted attorneys at the outset.
As you can see, the simple question of "how long" is not so simple afterall! The type of divorce that is best for you and your family will depend entirely on the application of the law to your personal circumstances. If you are considering or contemplating filing for divorce, please contact a family law attorney in your area to arrange for a divorce consultation as soon as possible.
This post and any comments below do not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state if you have questions regarding your personal circumstances.