The answer is it will depend on the type of divorce you file. If you file for an uncontested divorce or a joint petition for divorce, then the parties both agree to divorce one another, and come to a full, fair, and reasonable settlement memorialized by a separation agreement prior to filing for divorce.
This can be done by the parties’ respective attorneys brokering the deal, or through divorce mediation. The negotiation of this settlement oftentimes can take only a few weeks. Once the settlement is memorialized into a separation agreement, the necessary court documents are prepared to file a joint petition for divorce, and then the court assigns a date for the divorce hearing. Depending on the caseload of the specific court, this can be in a matter of days, or a matter of months. However, typically a Joint Petition for Divorce is resolved anywhere between 1-3 months (but may take longer with the backlog at the court.)
In a Contested Divorce
A complaint for divorce is given a track assignment of 14 months by the court. A track assignment is a time standard established by the court, whereby the court estimates how long a case will take to come to full resolution, either by settlement or by trial. This track assignment, however, is not concrete; a contested divorce can be resolved in less than 14 months, or more than 14 months. This depends on how cooperative the parties are and how willing they are to work together to come to a fair and reasonable settlement. This also depends on how extensive discovery is during the pendency of the divorce. If the parties are willing to work together and come to a fair and reasonable settlement, the divorce can be resolved in a matter of months, typically 6-8 months, or even less in certain cases.
At worst it can take from 14 months to 2-3 years based on current backlogs in the court system.
However, If the parties do not get along and it is a highly contentious case, it can take longer than 14 months. In the event that a case goes to trial, it is very possible that a divorce can take even longer than 14 months, and even up to 2-3 years. This is partially since the Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts is severely short-staffed and backlogged, which means many judges do not have any availability on their docket for a trial for many months out, once the parties are ready to schedule a trial.
Thus, the amount of time it takes to get divorced all depends on how much the parties are willing to work together.
If you want to discuss the timeline for getting a divorce in Massachusetts, then contact one of our Boston divorce attorneys today. Please contact us today to discuss any of your Divorce questions or concerns. Call our office at (617) 539-1010 ext. 111 for a confidential consultation with Attorney Amaral. Attorney Amaral will explain the Divorce process and answer any questions that you have.