Divorce: How Long It Takes & What It Costs

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedFeb 11, 2021
2 minute read

Going through the divorce process is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Divorce can be emotionally difficult, complicated, and expensive. Just initiating the process can be emotionally and physically taxing. Having a good divorce attorney to help you through it can significantly reduce your burdens and stress levels.

Family Law attorney Christopher Sutton has helped many individuals get through divorce. Christopher explains the process of divorce, including the costs involved, in this article.

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Client Concerns in Nearly Every Case 

There are two common questions that come up for our clients on almost every case:
  1. How long is this process going to take?
  2. How expensive is my case going to be?

Unfortunately, these are difficult questions for an attorney to answer. Every case is different. Some cases wrap up relatively quickly, and a settlement is reached during mediation. Other cases are much more involved. It’s probably no surprise that the longer and more complex the case, the more costly it will be.

Common Elements of the Divorce Process

The Waiting Period

Once the petition for divorce is filed and the other party is served with divorce papers, there is a mandatory 91-day waiting period before your divorce can be finalized.

Most people think that’s a hard and fast date; that their divorce will be over at the end of that time frame. Unfortunately, that’s seldom the case.

The Financial Disclosure

One of the biggest hurdles to finalizing your divorce case is the exchange of financial documents between the parties.

Here are some of the documents you will be expected to share:
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card numbers and statements
Expect Delays

Producing these documents can be time-consuming. Once your attorney has them, he or she will need time to process them.

Then, you and your attorney will also need time to discuss what a fair and equitable division looks like in your case.

The Divorce Process Really Begins

Negotiations can begin in earnest on a division of your assets and debts after all of the financial information has been exchanged and processed.

If the parties are able to reach an agreement, most cases can be resolved in six to eight months. Obviously, some cases will wrap up sooner and some cases will take longer.

How Your Jurisdiction Affects the Time Frame

A lot of the delays in a case are out of your attorney’s control. In addition to the unique aspects of each divorce case, where you get divorced will significantly influence your divorce’s timeline. 

For instance, certain Colorado jurisdictions are far busier than others. Also, certain judges are busier than others.

The actual length of your divorce process greatly depends on which jurisdiction you’re getting divorced and which judge you’re assigned.

Keep this in Mind

It’s important to remember that every divorce is different. The circumstances in your friend’s or neighbor’s divorce may appear to be the same as yours, but in reality there may be major differences of which you are unaware.

For example, finances and parenting time may make their case very different from yours. Friends and family can really offer terrific support during difficult life changes, like divorce. However, an experienced attorney is better equipped to lay out a realistic timeline for you.

Back to the Cost of Divorce

As noted earlier, it’s difficult to say how much your divorce will cost. Even providing a price range can be tough. Why? There are a number of unforeseen factors that add extra cost to a divorce case. Cases that begin as a run-of-the-mill divorce matter can take a downward turn and end up dragging out for far longer than ever expected.

Issues that Drive Up the Cost of Your Case:
  • battling over assets
  • bitter child custody disputes
  • multiple hearings are required
  • one or both parties delay financial disclosures

These types of issues tend to make a divorce very expensive.

Now, let’s say you and your ex can agree on all issues efficiently and without much drama. Under those circumstances, your case will wrap up more quickly and be relatively inexpensive.

Taking all of that into account, you can see why your will not be able to tell you at the outset how much your case will cost.

Connect with a Family Law Attorney

If you have any questions about the divorce process, our family law attorneys are happy to discuss your case with you.

Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment.

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