Within 21 days of filing the complaint, your spouse must be served with copies of the complaint by a process server or the court. Your spouse, as the defendant, will have 21 days to submit an answer to the complaint with the court. If he or she fails to do so, a default judgment may be entered against him or her.
If your spouse files for bankruptcy within the period required for him or her to respond to your complaint, his or her failure to respond may be considered an admission that you are entitled to a divorce. In such cases, the court can enter a default judgment without first notifying your spouse or allowing him or her to defend himself or herself.
The time frame required to complete your divorce is dependent on many factors, including but not limited to the nature of the divorce (eg, uncontested vs contested), the location of the divorce (eg, Virginia vs California), and the financial circumstances of both parties.
In most cases, a divorce can be completed within one year if there are no children involved and only private bills are being filed (no custody issues or division of property). If public records show that your marriage license was signed within the past year, even though it was not performed by a licensed minister, it can be done quickly with just a declaration page, separation agreement, and divorce decree.
For example, once a spouse files the divorce petition (complaint), the other spouse has around 30 days (depending on your court's regulations) to file a response. Following that, there comes a period of divorce discovery, during which you and your spouse share financial papers and other relevant facts about your case. Finally, after all parties have had an opportunity to be heard, the court will issue a final judgment of divorce.
The time frame mentioned above is only an estimate. It depends on many factors such as court schedules, trial dates, number of witnesses, amount of evidence to be reviewed, etc. For example, some cases can be decided at first appearance while others require a full trial.
In general, most cases can be resolved through settlement conferences or mediation. These processes are designed to help parties resolve their issues without going to court.
If this doesn't work, then the next step is court proceedings. During these times, your attorney will present evidence in support of your case and respond to evidence presented by your spouse's attorney.
Overall, filing for divorce is an extensive process with many steps. The more information you can provide to your lawyer at the beginning of your case, the better he or she can represent you at later stages. This way, you can achieve your goals as quickly as possible while still getting the best outcome for your situation.
After the summons and petition are sent to the opposite party, they have 20 days to submit an answer. Normally, this is a predictable period of time. However, be aware that attorney-led divorce proceedings can take many unexpected turns. There are several legal avenues for severely delaying a lawsuit. For example, your spouse may file a motion for summary judgment which means that the case can be resolved by a judge based on written arguments from both sides.
If you fail to appear for your trial, the court will enter a default judgment against you. This means that your marriage annulled, divorced, or dissolved without your agreement or consent. If you want to fight the divorce action, you must file a motion to set aside the default within 10 days of it being entered. Otherwise, the court's decision is final and binding.
The length of time it takes to dissolve a marriage depends on many factors such as the number of issues involved, the location of the courtroom, the complexity of the case, and how much money you are willing to spend. On average, Florida divorces take about 180 days from the filing of the complaint to the entry of the final judgment. However, more complicated cases may take longer.
The first step toward a speedy divorce is to hire a lawyer. The cost of hiring a lawyer should not be a barrier to getting a divorce.