Why Is My Divorce Taking So Long

Almost every client will ask when we first meet "how long will my divorce take". Of course the answer is never simple unless the husband and wife have it all worked out and they will have a simple uncontested divorce. However, for clients who do not agree on custody of their children or the parenting schedule, cannot agree upon their respective incomes so that child support and/or maintenance can be calculated, do not agree on equitable distribution including the value of their home, the value of a business or professional practice, or claim that there is unreported cash income, hidden assets, wasteful spending of marital assets, or claim that they are entitled to credits for assets that they had prior to marriage then it is impossible to predict the length of time the case will take from start to finish.

Fortunately, most cases do not have all of these potential problems and some are relatively easy to resolve either by appraisal or the exchange of financial statements. Some cases just need two good matrimonial attorneys able to guide and advise their clients as to the "normal" or "common" way of resolving issues.

However, my experience has been that if either party has mental health problems or addiction issues the case will be more difficult. There may be a need for supervised contact with the children. If there are issues of domestic violence the safety of a client must be maintained at all times. If there are allegations of parental alienation, the case will be protracted to correct the damage that has been done to the children.

So while it is the goal of all matrimonial attorneys to negotiate a fair resolution of all issues, as the above summary shows there can be numerous difficulties in resolving such deeply personal and important issues that may affect clients and their children for many years. There are, of course, differences in the experience, depth of knowledge and style of attorneys as well. Some attorneys work faster, some are better negotiators and some have a greater array of problem solving skills.

The best way to get from beginning to end is to have reasonable expectations, good counsel and a genuine desire to work it all out. Court appearances may be helpful if there are hurdles that the clients cannot clear.