Divorce can be a confusing time. It’s full of uncertainty and ambiguity. You probably have a ton of questions.
What happens and when? How do you tackle dividing assets? What about the kids? The car? The House?
With this in mind, we thought we should look at three common divorce questions we often hear?
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How long will my divorce take?
The short answer to this question is at least six months.
Most states have a waiting period. They range from a few weeks to multiple months. In California, six months is the law and the bare minimum amount of time you have to wait to finalize your divorce.
In many cases, however, divorce takes longer than six months.
Thanks to the complex nature of ending a marriage, many divorces take longer. Some significantly longer.
Six months is the absolute shortest time frame. And that’s in cases where both parties are on the same page about all or most issues. However, the more contention you have, the more issues you and your ex need to iron out, the longer it is likely to take.
In reality, every divorce plays out in a different manner. No two are identical. So there’s no single answer to this question, though this hopefully gives you an idea of what to expect.
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How much will my divorce cost?
The short answer to this question is that divorce isn’t cheap. That probably doesn’t come as a shock.
It is possible to cut down on expenses. DIY divorce is now easier and more accessible than ever. In simple cases–short marriages, ones without children or much shared property to divide, and where both parties agree on everything–you may only have to pay a few hundred dollars to file the proper forms.
However, that’s not how most situations play out. The average divorce in the U.S. costs $15,000 per person.
Similar to how long a divorce takes, the more there is to deal with, the more it will cost. Do you have significant property, like houses or cars? What about custody arrangements or child support? Is there alimony to figure out?
All of that takes time, which means more work for your attorney to do, which all adds up to more money.
And it doesn’t end there.
The decisions you make in divorce affect your life for years to come. In some cases, the rest of your life. It’s important that you can live with the choices you make and the terms you negotiate.
While it is possible to save money upfront by handling the divorce yourself, it’s all too common for DIY settlements to need modification down the road. Not only is this a difficult, stressful, time-consuming process, it often costs a great deal.
It’s probably in your best interest to consult an attorney. At the very least, a professional should be able to give you an idea of how complicated a case you have on your hands.
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What issues will my divorce resolve?
Divorce addresses all the legal issues involved in dissolving your marriage.
The most common topics in a divorce decree include the division of assets and debt, child custody arrangements, child and spousal support, and retirement.
Those are the major common issues, but once again, every sitution is different.
As a result, your unique circumstances will dictate the specifics of the divorce settlement. For example, if you don’t have kids, it obviously won’t address custody. But if you run a business together, the decree should address that.
Ending a marriage comes with much uncertainty. These are just a few common divorce questions we field regularly. If you’re considering divorce, it’s definitely in your best interest to talk to an attorney.
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Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post and has been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.