Once the divorce process is initiated, often times understandably, the parties want to be finished with the process, and each other and move on in life, as quickly as possible. Divorce attorneys sometimes hear the party request a speedy trial. The “Speedy Trial” rule applies to criminal cases. Ultimately, there are several variables that affect how long it takes for the divorce process to be finalized.
Below are three (3) key reasons your divorce may require some patience that is required by the Divorce Act or need to properly divide the marital estate, which may make the divorce well, less speedy:
1. The “cooling off” period: In Indiana, there is a statutory provision that a divorce cannot be finalized until at least sixty (60) days after the date of filing.1 This allows parties to begin to think about and address those issues that must be addressed fully by the time of the divorce, such as custody, parenting time, and property division (assets and liabilities); this also but slows down the process of dissolving a marriage if reconciliation or counseling is potentially helpful prior to a final hearing or agreement; marriage is a favored institution in Indiana.
2. Discovery: The process of discovery (getting information for a divorce) normally begins on a more or less formal scale after filing, and can include sending written interrogatories, requests for production of documents for review, requests for admission, depositions, and even physical and mental examinations as part of the information gathering process for the dissolution.2 This information about finances, accounts, property, daycare (the list goes on and on) can be invaluable in your dissolution case, and the opposing side generally has thirty (30) days initially to reply to same. Upon receipt, there is an additional time that is required to review this information, so this can increase the time to finalize a divorce. The Court is required to divide the marital estate in a just and equitable manner and make a custody decision in the children’s best interests and this aids the court in the capacity, assuming an agreement is not reached.
3. Mediation: Often, the parties will agree and/or the Courts will Order3 mediation prior to a final hearing. This requires both having the information needed to work toward a final agreement, but also the scheduling of the parties, their attorneys, and a mediator, which can require that mediation (especially for a full day) be set weeks out to align with all of the schedules. Oftentimes, mediation can be a valuable tool that may resolve all or some of the issues in a divorce, so it may be worth the wait. Courts and attorneys generally embrace mediation because cases that seem intractable settle in mediation.
The list above includes only some of the reasons that your case may require time, and working with your attorney to discuss time frames is often the best way to be prepared before and during the process. In family law, the status can change from day-to-day or even hour to hour.
Just remember, it has taken years for everything in your marriage to accumulate, and it can take time to untangle as well. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice family law throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of these cases. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.