Last Updated On: June 27, 2023

How Long Does It Take To Get An Uncontested Divorce In NY?

When going through a divorce, most people are anxious to officially end their marriage as quickly as possible. Some divorces can be quick and painless and others can get complicated, messy, and may take years to finalize. How quickly a divorce can happen largely depends on the couple’s willingness to work together and to come to an agreement about the assets and liabilities from their shared lives. 

Other variables that affect a divorce timeline lie within the court’s and the judge’s schedule, both of which can vary from county to county. With so many variables involved, there is no guaranteed length of time that an uncontested divorce takes. An average length can be around three months or more. An experienced NYC uncontested divorce lawyer can work with you and your former spouse’s attorney to try and achieve a pre-filing divorce settlement which will result in a quicker divorce.

Can An Uncontested Divorce Become Contested?

It is unlikely that both parties are going to agree 100% on the terms of their divorce. Especially when it comes to long marriage, there are inherently more decisions to make during the process. Additionally, getting divorced is a very emotional process even when both parties agree a separation is for the best. When high emotions are mixed making decisions such as separating a shared estate, assets, and guardianship of pets and children, new complications can easily arise. Depending on the situation and the dynamic between both parties, the negotiation of an agreed settlement can end up turning an uncontested divorce into a contested divorce.

What Are Some Of The Biggest Hurdles When It Comes To Getting An Uncontested Divorce In New York?

Cooperation between both parties is going to be one of the biggest reasons for a delay. Being able to work with one another to come to an agreement that both parties feel is fair can help shorten the divorce process. Other hurdles that could delay a divorce include the logistics of any shared property and whether or not the custody of children is involved. The paperwork required to file for the resolution of these issues, and any additional issues there may be, can take up a substantial amount of time. Aside from the amount of time that it takes to produce the required paperwork, the documentation must also be reviewed and agreed upon by the spouse and then put in front of a judge to review, ensuring that the final agreement is in compliance with divorce laws. If it comes to a point in the divorce process where neither party are able to find common ground, then the case would be taken to court where a judge would then make any final decisions for the separation.

How Long Can a Divorce Be Put on Hold?

In New York, there is no set timeframe for divorce proceedings once they have begun. If the parties involved have not yet finalized their settlement, they can request the court to temporarily pause the proceedings. Pausing the divorce can involve refraining from taking any action during negotiations or discontinuing the case at various stages, depending on the progress of the divorce process.

The process begins with the filing of a Summons with Notice or Complaint, which must be served to the defendant within 120 days. During this period, couples may consider the possibility of divorce. To pause the process at this stage, the simplest approach is to discontinue it. If the Notice has been filed with the court but not yet served, it can be withdrawn by submitting a Notice of Discontinuance. If it has been served and a response has been received, withdrawal requires agreement from both parties.

During divorce negotiations, couples can pause the process for as long as they agree upon, as long as it is not considered a misuse of the court’s time. However, it’s important to note that halting the divorce does not halt the accumulation of legal fees. If the proceedings are paused for an extended period, additional costs may arise due to the need to redo paperwork or renegotiate certain aspects.

If both parties are in agreement, they can request to put the proceedings on hold. In the event of reconciliation, the divorce proceedings can be terminated by filing for a voluntary dismissal. If the divorce process resumes, it starts again from the beginning.

Once a divorce settlement has been negotiated, it becomes more challenging to pause the proceedings. If the agreement has not been finalized, a motion can be filed to request that the court refrain from making a ruling. Once a judge has signed the divorce decree, the only option to reverse it is through remarriage. Effective communication is crucial for a smooth divorce process, ensuring clarity and understanding, and potentially saving time and money if the ultimate goal is not to proceed with the divorce.

Stage of Divorce Process Action to Put Divorce on Hold
Filing of Summons with Notice or Complaint Withdraw the Notice of Discontinuance before it is served, or agree to withdraw it if it has been served and a response has been received.
Divorce Negotiations Pause the process as long as both parties agree, ensuring it is not considered a misuse of the court’s time. Note that legal fees may continue to accumulate during this period.
Agreement Negotiation File a motion to request that the court refrain from making a ruling until the agreement is finalized.
Divorce Decree Signed by Judge Once a judge has signed the divorce decree, the only option to reverse it is through remarriage.

Agreeing To Mediation Can Help Move Along The Divorce Process

Mediation has proven to be a helpful resource to the divorce process. The mediation process involves discussing the issues of a divorce with a neutral third party that can help both parties agree on fair resolutions. Each party’s respective lawyers are welcome to attend the mediation sessions, which helps in keeping all lines of communication clear. If mediation can be used to help achieve an uncontested divorce agreement, this can help save time and money.

The process of an uncontested divorce in New York can be complex, time-consuming, and emotionally charged. It often requires a high level of cooperation and agreement between the parties involved, as well as careful navigation of legal protocols and court schedules. The transition from an uncontested divorce to a contested one can present additional challenges, particularly when emotions run high and agreements on critical issues such as asset distribution and child custody become difficult to reach.

Engaging a New York divorce lawyer can greatly facilitate this process, making it less daunting and more efficient. New York divorce attorney Juan Luciano may be able to guide you in negotiating pre-filing divorce settlements and managing the shift from uncontested to contested divorces. Our team may be able to arrange mediation to maintain open lines of communication and foster fair resolutions. Contact us today at (212) 537-5859 to schedule a consultation.

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