FAQs on Divorce

(Frequently Asked Questions)

(Q) How long will my divorce take?

Answer: The duration of a divorce action or the period of time between retaining an attorney and actually being divorced depends on several variables. A case will take more time to resolve depending upon the number of issues in a case, and the nature and complexities of each issue. If custody or the amount and duration of spousal and/or child support are issues, it can prolong the litigation or resolution process if the parties cannot reach a fair resolution in an expedited manner. The extent of the assets and determining marital vs. separate property can also make resolution more tedious. Another factor in the length of the process is the cooperation and reasonableness of the parties. If the parties and counsel are reasonable in reaching a fair resolution of each outstanding issue this can assist a great deal in the total amount of time it requires to settle or resolve the case globally.

(Q) How much will my divorce cost?

Answer: The cost relies heavily on the number of issues to be resolved, the complexity of the issues and the ability of the parties, the attorneys, and in some cases, the Court, can work cooperatively to arrive at a fair and reasonable settlement of all outstanding issues. Most attorneys charge on an hourly basis with an advance initial retainer fee due at the time the firm is retained. All tasks performed by an attorney are recorded and billed to the client on an hourly basis usually in increments of six (6) minutes.

(Q) Will I be required to go to Court?

Answer: Every matter is unique. However, there are certainly many cases that are resolved out of Court. Parties and their counsel are free to negotiate the terms of a Separation Agreement or Stipulation resolving all outstanding issues arising out of a marriage. In those cases, the uncontested divorce documents may be submitted to the Court for signature without the parties ever having to appear in Court.

(Q) Does going to Court mean there will be a trial and a Judge will decide my case?

Answer: Most matrimonial actions settle with or without the assistance of the Court prior to trial. Only a small number of matrimonial cases are tried to completion. However, if parties and their counsel are unable to reach a resolution outside of Court, most attorneys will recommend filing a Request for Judicial Intervention (an “RJI), which assigns your case to a Judge and triggers a Preliminary Conference. There may be several court appearances before either a Court Referee or a Judge. These appearances are conferences, and not a trial. During these conferences, the Court may assist the parties in reaching a resolution on all or some of the issues prior to trial.

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