Image of an elegant hourglass on a wooden table in front of a gray wall, representing time and money.

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

Generally speaking, it is impossible to predict exactly how long the case will take. After the case is under way, and your attorney understands the issues, he will be better able to gauge the duration. How long it will take depends on the following factors:

  • The number and complexity of contested issues;
  • The attitudes of each of the parties, their attorneys, and their inclination to settle;
  • The court’s calendar. Some hearings can usually be scheduled within 3-6 weeks. A trial on the issue of permanent alimony or equitable distribution may take months to be calendared. You should not undertake litigation thinking that things will go quickly; they will not. If your case involves equitable distribution of the marital estate, your case may continue even after you are divorced. The complexity of the case bears directly on the length of time it takes to prepare and try the issues.
  • The other attorney. Your attorney has no control over the schedule or personality of opposing counsel. An extremely busy or uncompromising opposing attorney can prolong the final resolution of your case.

By far, the most common factors that prolong lawsuits, particularly lawsuits arising from domestic disputes, are the intensity of the parties’ feelings, and the degree to which the parties want to fight. It is not unusual for one party to insist that he/she have their “day in court,” and, there may be nothing your attorney or your spouse’s attorney can do to change that situation.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.