How Long Does an Uncontested New York Divorce Take?

Long Island attorneys help eliminate downtime to expedite your divorce

When clients come to us for a consultation, their first question is often “How long does an uncontested divorce take?” Of course, you want your divorce done quickly, but more importantly, you want it done correctly, which is why you need an attorney with experience. At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., we’ve been negotiating and litigating divorces for more than 20 years. We are Long Island’s largest and busiest family law and divorce firm because we provide effective legal counsel that meets our clients’ needs. When you come to us for an uncontested divorce, we focus our efforts on achieving a resolution that meets your goals in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost.

Typical timeline for uncontested divorce in New York

An uncontested divorce happens when couples negotiate a marital settlement agreement resolving all issues relating to child custody, alimony, child support and property division. These terms are submitted to the court for approval. When the spouses are willing to compromise, it is possible to eliminate a great deal of the wait time normally associated with the legal process of marriage dissolution. For example, consider this sequence of events:

  • The petitioner files for divorce and serves the respondent spouse with papers.
  • The respondent has 120 days to file an Answer.
  • As soon as the respondent files, the petitioner can file a “Note of Issue,” placing the case on the court calendar, which generally leads to a wait between four and 12 weeks, depending on how busy the court is.
  • If the couple waits until the court date to present a signed marital settlement agreement, the court would have to take additional time to consider it, so another hearing would have to be scheduled on what is likely a crowded court calendar.

Under these circumstances, it could take the court as long as seven months to issue a divorce decree. The average time might be more like four months, but our firm works diligently to shrink that timeline even further.

How long does a divorce take if one spouse does not agree?

There are innumerable factors that can drag out legal proceedings, and chief among them are disagreements on parenting and financial terms. Your attorney must know how to anticipate impediments and resolve them promptly before they lead to frustrating and costly delays. Even when parties have strong disagreements, if they are committed to the uncontested divorce process, they can use mediation to reach consensus on tough issues.

Common challenges with an uncontested divorce

The success of an uncontested divorce hinges on cooperation. Spouses must be transparent about finances, amenable to providing necessary documentation and flexible about the result they’ll accept. You also have to be mindful that the clock is ticking. If you are not ready with your settlement agreement when your case comes up on the court calendar, you’ll need a continuance, which can set you back a month or more.

Ways to speed up an uncontested divorce

Prior planning can shorten the process considerably. Though the respondent has 120 days to file their Answer, they do not have to wait that long. If the parties are cooperating, the respondent can prepare their filing in advance and include the marital settlement agreement along with the Notice of Issue, so the court can review the terms prior to the first hearing date. By engaging in early, substantive communication with opposing counsel, we can often achieve a successful result while condensing the timeframe so that you can get a final divorce decree within three short months. This process also allows us to control how much your uncontested divorce costs.

What to expect in an uncontested divorce settlement

To expedite a settlement, you should be prepared to give a little on certain disputed issues. If you have minor children, you should look for ways to ensure that both you and your ex maintain frequent, meaningful contact with them. Don’t request unduly harsh financial terms to punish your spouse for problems in your marriage. A settlement is a compromise made in good faith. It should protect both parties’ rights. Entering the process with reasonable expectations gives you the best chance to exit the process quickly.

Do you have to be separated to get an uncontested divorce in NY?

Having a legal separation agreement can make an uncontested divorce even quicker, but it is not a requirement. The petitioner in a no-fault case only has to declare that the marital relationship has been irretrievably broken for at least six months. But this should not be interpreted as a waiting period, which starts with the filing.

Consult an experienced Long Island attorney to expedite your uncontested divorce.

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. has the experience to move your uncontested divorce efficiently through the court system. To schedule a free initial consultation with a determined attorney, call us at 1.631.479.3839 or contact our office online. Pick up the phone and get the process started today!