As South Carolina couples prepare to end their marriage, one of their first questions might be about the length of the divorce process itself. The answer can vary widely, depending on a variety of issues, not least of which is how well the spouses can work together to resolve their issues and reach a settlement.
What factors affect the length of the divorce process?
While there are some basic steps couples will need to take when they decide to begin to dissolve their marriage, such as drafting and filing a divorce petition, serving the papers to their spouse and awaiting the spouse’s response, there are other factors that will affect how long the actual process will take. These include:
- The location of the divorce
- Any mandatory separation rules and waiting periods
- Division of property
- Child custody and support issues
- Spousal support disagreements
These factors not only vary from divorce to divorce but they can vary from state to state. As well, the situation of the local court can have an impact on how long you must wait to begin your single life. For example, in jurisdictions where courts are short-staffed or have backlogs of cases, it might take a few months for a judge to sign the divorce decree, extending the length of the divorce process.
Mediation and arbitration can both help and extend the process
While these two conflict resolution options can help spouses resolve their issues and speed up the process, they can also lead to the opposite. If mediation or arbitration fails, the spouses might need to head to court.
In many cases, the divorce process will last between a few months to a year. However, conflicts between the spouses as well as issues in local jurisdictions might extend that time.