When a couple decides to divorce, they often ask “how long will this take?” The answer can vary depending on various factors, but nothing has a greater impact on the duration of the divorce process than the chosen method of dispute resolution. In this blog post, we will explore the timelines associated with mediation, collaborative divorce, and litigation in Westchester County, shedding light on how each can affect the timing of the overall divorce process.
It is important to note that there are really two signposts along the way to getting a divorce. The first part is resolving all of the issues between the parties. That is the critically important determinative part that the parties can influence through their choice of process and what this post will address. The second, which is wholly dependent on the efficiency of the court clerk, is waiting for the Court to sign the divorce papers. Lately in Westchester the Court has been taking up to six months or more to sign and return the Judgment of Divorce, though that can vary.
Mediation in a divorce case involves working with a trained mediator who helps the parties negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement. The timeline for mediation can be relatively shorter than traditional litigation and the parties themselves play a large part in determining how long it takes. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year to complete the mediation process, depending on the complexity of the issues involved, the dynamics of the parties, and the frequency of the sessions. Mediation sessions are generally 1.5 to 2 hours in length, and it commonly takes between 3 and 8 sessions to fully resolve all the issues.
Collaborative Divorce is another non-adversarial approach to divorce in which each party retains their own collaboratively trained attorney who commit to working together with other neutral experts to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable settlement outside of the courtroom. Like mediation, the parties themselves can directly impact the speed and duration of the collaborative process. The timeline for a Collaborative Divorce will vary depending on the complexity of the specific circumstances. However, compared to traditional litigation which revolves around a schedule set by the Court, Collaborative Divorce can be faster, typically taking between six months and a year.
Litigation in a divorce case becomes necessary when couples are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement between themselves. Litigation involves resolving disputes through the court system, with each spouse retaining their own attorneys who work in opposition to one another to present their case to a judge. The duration of a litigated divorce can be unpredictable, as it depends on such factors as the Court’s availability, the speed with which the attorneys work, as well as the complexity of the issues involved. Generally, a litigated divorce in Westchester County, New York can take anywhere from one to three years or longer. The adversarial nature of litigation and the need to adhere to court schedules can contribute to delays and prolonged emotional strain on the parties. Because of the time and the cost involved; many couples look to litigation only as a last resort.
In conclusion, the length of time that a divorce will take to complete in Westchester County, New York depends on the process the parties choose and their willingness to work towards a settlement. Mediation and Collaborative Divorce empower couples with the opportunity to reach a mutually agreeable settlement efficiently, completing the process in a shorter timeframe. Litigation, though necessary in some cases, often leads to longer proceedings due to court schedules and the adversarial nature of the process.
For more information or to schedule a consultation call (914) 861-2400 or visit www.ivanalter.com. Our office is located at 118 N. Bedford Rd., Suite 100, Mount Kisco, NY 10549.