One of the first questions clients ask when they come in for a consultation is how long will this process take? When will I have my divorce?
There is no clear-cut answer to this question – the process can take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years.
There are a number of factors which have a bearing on the time frame.
- Agreement on key issues: If the parties can agree on items such as maintenance, property, pensions, custody and access then the process will be relatively quick. In general, your solicitor will work with your spouse’s solicitor to try and reach an agreement that provides proper provision for both spouses taking into account the welfare and best interests of the children. Once both parties have exchanged their Affidavits of Means and Welfare, discussions can commence between the parties. These discussions can take place at any time up to the hearing of the case. It is always preferable to try and reach agreement rather than leaving it in the hands of the Judge who could make an Order that leaves all the parties unsatisfied.
- Failure to be upfront in regard to disclosing assets. Before any agreement can be reached, full disclosure of all assets and liabilities must be made by both parties. Judges must be satisfied that full disclosure has been made. If not, he/she can order one or both parties to make such disclosure. Which in turn can cause significant delays.
- If one or both parties are slow when replying to correspondence and responding to court proceedings, this can result in months being added to the process. Applications to compel one or other side to do something can take months.
Court Lists: The length of court lists can vary from one area to another. Sometimes your case will make a list for hearing but because it is nearer the end of the list, or the cases before it take a long time to resolve, your case will get pushed back to the next family law sittings. Family law courts outside of Dublin only sit a few times per year. Family law sittings in Limerick for instance take place approximately 4 times per year.