When two people decide to divorce, there is a common misconception that the process is immediate. The couple comes to their decision, files the paperwork, and a few days after, the divorce is final. Divorce rarely moves along this quick. In fact, in some states, there is a separation or waiting period that couples must complete before the divorce proceeding can be finalized. Although it may seem like a roadblock, there is a waiting period for good reason.
Period of Assessment
Marriage is a life-changing event, but a divorce is an event that is even more impactful. A divorce is not just an emotional challenge; it can also affect your finances and multiple aspects of your life going forward. States recognize the impact that this legal proceeding has, so they require couples to undergo this waiting period so that they have time to think about their decision.
Depending on your state this period could be 60 days or even close to an entire year. During this time, couples can discuss their plans to see if there is an alternative option. At any point during this process, both parties can revoke their request for a divorce without any penalty.
The dissolution of the marriage is one thing, but there are also plenty of financial matters that must take place. The court is determined to ensure that each divorce is handled fairly, and in order to go about this goal, they need to know about all the facts.
Another reason for this waiting period is that it gives each party the opportunity to research everything from asset value to future financial needs, such as alimony so that once the divorce is final, each party can walk away knowing that their needs were assessed fairly.
Some divorces are handled outside of the courtroom, but there are plenty of divorces in which a settlement cannot be reached. As such, a judge must intervene in the process. Unfortunately, there are couples filing for divorce every single day, and as such, it is not possible to get a court hearing immediately.
In some instances, the waiting period allows for extra time for each party to schedule a trial date that works for the judge as well as their own schedules.
If divorce is a scenario for you, now is the time to speak with a divorce attorney. An attorney will help familiarize you with the divorce guidelines in your state so that you know what to expect.