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Divorce Waiting Periods

Divorce waiting periods vary anywhere from 10 days to a year, and some states do not require a waiting period at all. 

When filing for divorce, most states require you to wait a certain amount of time before it is finalized. Divorce waiting periods vary anywhere from 10 days to a year, and some states do not require a waiting period at all.

Why are there divorce waiting periods?

Divorce waiting periods are also commonly referred to as “cooling off” periods. Here are 5 reasons why states have divorce waiting periods:

  1. Reconciliation: This allows both spouses to reflect on the marriage and decide whether they can reconcile.
  2. Investigation for finances: This gives the divorcing couple time to decide how they are going to divide their finances and property equitably. It requires the gathering of tax returns, bank and credit union statements, credit reports, credit card statements, etc. Investigation of finances also gives time for subpoenas, appraisals, home and business inspections, and more.
  3. Investigation for children: This gives both parents time to investigate housing, childcare providers, schools, visitation schedules, and other parenting related changes that might occur after divorce. This process may also require subpoenas, interviews, and inspections. If you and your spouse are entering a shared parenting relationship, you may consider using a co-parenting communication service, like TalkingParents. Our service gives you access to cutting-edge tools, designed to make co-parenting easy, secure, and accountable.
  4. Court scheduling/trial preparation: If your case does not settle, the schedule of the court will dictate when you go to trial. This could be well after the divorce waiting period expires.
  5. Minimizing collateral consequences: Minimizing the impact of the divorce on your children, finances, living arrangements, and more takes time. The waiting period is the perfect time to make any necessary decisions and arrangements regarding life after divorce.

I don't want to wait. I want a divorce now.

While you may want your divorce to happen as quickly as possible, practically speaking, these waiting periods are usually necessary. A divorcing couple must identify legal resources to represent them in the case, as well as make all the decisions and arrangements previously outlined.

Some states do allow divorcing couples to request waivers to the state’s divorce waiting periods, but usually it is only granted for emergencies, such as a spouse who is going to be deployed overseas or in the case of domestic violence.

Are you thinking about divorce?

If you are considering divorce, it’s important to contact an experienced, local divorce lawyer who knows the laws in your area. We also have an extensive collection of information related to divorce available to you on our website.

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