Yes, if you are part of the 95% of the divorcing population, you will have a one-year mandatory waiting period before you can get from being separated to being divorced. If you have had a breakdown in the marriage, in your court documents you have to state your reason for the divorce. You have 3 choices:
- Separated for one year
- Mental or physical cruelty
In 95% of the cases, you will use one year of separation for your reason. If you chose to claim reason #2 or #3, you are required to prove your reason either by the other party admitting to it, or you finding proof in some other way. In many cases, the other party will not admit to the adultery or to the cruelty, so you are left trying to prove your case. The one-year waiting period may seem long, but in fact time will likely go by relatively quickly because of the many details to clear up before you can finalize your divorce. For example, you may need to make appropriate arrangements regarding a parenting plan for the children, spousal support, and division of property. When you start out, your year will seem like a long way off; by the time you sort all these issues out, you may be somewhere close to the one-year mark, or even beyond.
How long did it take you and your spouse to get your post-separation issues sorted out? Share your stories with me – send me an email or follow me on Twitter at @sdobsonlawyer and send me a tweet. I want to hear from you!