If I file for divorce today, how long will it take to complete?
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If I file for divorce today, how long will it take to complete?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2021 | Divorce |

When youre ready to end your marriage, wanting it done right away is understandable. Unfortunately, it is not something that can be final overnight. There are a couple of factors that will affect the length of time it takes couples in South Dakota to complete the divorce process. What are they?

The two main factors that affect the duration of the divorce process are the divorce type and the required waiting period. A contested divorce is more than likely going to take longer than an uncontested divorce.  Regardless if you file a contested or uncontested divorce petition, there is a required waiting period that the state says every couple must go through before the courts can issue a divorce decree.

Contested versus uncontested divorce

A contested divorce generally takes longer than an uncontested divorce because it requires the negotiation of settlement terms, mediated or litigated. Not everyone can do that quickly. Some couples fight for months or years before reaching agreeable terms. An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is one in which both parties agree to or are unwilling to fight the proposed terms, and are ready to sign off on everything from the get-go.

The waiting period

According to current state laws, there is a waiting period of 60 days from when you file your divorce petition to when the court will issue a divorce decree. That doesn’t mean you sit and do nothing for those 60 days. That is the time to be negotiating your settlement terms, so when you reach the 60-day mark — if you’ve reached agreeable terms — everything can be final right away.

What you can do to speed things up

At the bare minimum, the divorce process will take 60 days from the petition filing date. There is no way around that waiting period. However, it doesn’t have to take longer than that if you are willing to negotiate and reach settlement terms you and your spouse both feel are acceptable. Legal counsel can help with that process if you like.

At the end of the day, the goal with divorce proceedings is not necessarily to get them over with as soon as possible. You want to make sure you walk away with the best settlement terms possible. If you can do that relatively quickly, that’s great. If you can’t, though, that is okay too. Every case is different.