By statute, a divorce must be filed and a sixty-day period pass before the parties can be divorced. This blog explores this legal concept and others that often create confusion for litigants and is necessary to live with the stress of a divorce proceeding.
Staring with the waiting period, it is truly rare that a divorce decree issues on day 60. This is because divorce is much like unraveling two battling business partners—there are numerous issues that take time and research to explore, such as whether one party has good enough and enough credit to refinance the marital home (if there is one) or whether it has to be sold. Numerous of such contingencies make divorces that are complete and can take 6 to 12 months, if not longer.
Related, when a divorce decree is issued, it may be weeks or months before the attorneys wrap up the case, such as with drafting and obtaining approval and transfer of certain retirement funds under QDROs.
Another concept that extends this time frame is mediation, where a neutral third party attorney helps the parties reach agreement before trial. This is constitutional and most courts order divorcing parties to go to mediation before trial. Further, mediation allows the parties to reach an agreement that is far more “custom” to their needs than can often occur in trial; if this happens it is great, but more likely, the net result is to embitter the parties, decrease the marital estate by legal fees, and with an unexpected outcome, generate an appeal, dragging on the divorce longer with more legal fees.
Finally, when a trial is inevitable, an attorney or judge does not necessarily rise to the occasion, but default to preparation and careful legal work. This means it is costly to prepare for trial. In most cases, the judge will take time to carefully consider the evidence and the divorce decree will not issue until sometime after trial. The take-away is trials are costly and time consuming.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handles divorce trials of all types and complexity throughout the state of Indiana. It is hoped it helps litigants and those with interest in the process better understand it and manage expectations. This blog is for general educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is a form of advertising.