How long you go through your divorce will depend on several factors. In many ways, the length of time for your divorce depends more on non-legal factors than legal ones.

In Virginia for example, spouses cannot get divorced in less than one year if they have minor children. If they don’t have minor children AND they have a signed marital agreement or contract, they can get divorced after six months. To explain further, spouses may negotiate and/or litigate their divorce immediately but the court will not enter a divorce order finalizing everything in less than one year from your date of separation if you have minor children. Don’t let that worry you though, you can still settle all the issues in your divorce during the one-year period. From there, you can wait for a formal divorce to be granted after the one year is up.

The six-month rule is a little different. The spouses have to have emancipated children or no children, and they already need to have settled their divorce with a signed agreement to take advantage of the shorter time frame. Again though, you can settle your case within the six-month period at any point. From there, you can wait until the period expires to get an actual divorce.


What Additional Factors Affect the Length of Your Divorce?

What are some of the other factors that affect the length of your divorce? There are several examples.

If your case is very contested, the intensity of your litigation may prolong your divorce. For example, cases do exist where divorces are litigated beyond the one-year period simply because they are so complex and/or contentious. Oftentimes, a divorce is prolonged unnecessarily when one of the spouses/attorneys is being unreasonable. It’s important to have an attorney who will work hard to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Another factor is your local court. Many cases were postponed due to COVID-19, and in urban and suburban areas, courts were already backed up because of the growing populations. The pandemic simply caused an even greater backup. Your attorney should be familiar with local court procedures to get you a hearing as fast as possible.

Finally, there are miscellaneous factors that can come up that prolong divorces. Examples include medical issues with one of the spouses or children, unexpected natural disasters, judges’ discretion, or litigation strategy. Regardless of the reason, you need an experienced attorney who can adjust to any of these situations and help you shorten the length of your divorce as much as possible.


Contact Us Today 

Contact WhitbeckBennett if you are thinking of or you are going through a divorce, even if it’s just for a second opinion on an already existing case. Our attorneys can help.