Ask almost anyone who has been through it and they will say “too long!” Joking aside, it can feel like a long process, and the justice system is not exactly known for its speed, even at the best of times.
The hardest part of a divorce is coming up with the terms of divorce, especially as it relates to custody, property division and support payments. This can be done through negotiation, or a judge can make the decision.
A negotiated settlement is almost always faster than waiting for the court to order the terms of your divorce. So, what exactly takes so long with court?
Unless there has been adultery or physical or mental cruelty in the marriage, you must be separated for one year before you can get divorced. If you cannot come to agreement, then time it takes is out of your control. Court time is in high demand and many courts are booking dates several months out. Exactly how long it takes depends on things like the complexity of interim motions, any adjournments, and how complicated your case is. If you have a multi day trial with expert witnesses and complicated submissions it can take a very long time to get trial date. Finally, once a divorce decree has been granted, it is not finalized for another 31 days to allow time for one of the parties to file an appeal.
How can I speed things along?
The best thing you can do is to try to stay out of court by negotiating your own agreement. Any issues that need a judge to decide them will take longer. Take advantage of the court services that promote settlement such as conciliation and Settlement Conferences.
Couples who are able to settle the terms of their divorce can make a Joint Application for Divorce and save time and money with because this procedure doesn’t require any court appearances.
If you're having an issue related to this topic we'd be happy to help. You can call us at (902) 826-3070 to set up a meeting or contact us online. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.
Peter G. Duke - Associate Lawyer
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