While considering a divorce, you likely consulted friends and family members about their experiences. One question you may ask them is, “how long does it take?”

Unfortunately, like many legal proceedings, divorces may not be resolved as quickly as you would think. It is not uncommon for a divorce to take 18 months (from filing to final resolution) to resolve. This may be quite frustrating when you want to make plans to move on with life. This post will identify a few things that may prolong a divorce.

The court’s scheduling order – As you may already know, your case is one of hundreds on a judge’s docket, the dates on the court’s scheduling order are set in advance for a reason. Of course, if you resolve things before the due dates set on the calendar, there is a likelihood that a judge can sign off on a settlement agreement sooner.

Discovery motions –  The rules of discovery set forth a broad range of items that may be discoverable under California law. Invariably, parties will disagree on what must be produced under document requests, interrogatories or admission requests. When discovery disputes cannot be resolved, a judge must hear motions and issue a ruling, both of which take time.

Disagreements: The more issues a couple wants to contest in court, the more time it takes for a judge to review the facts and the arguments, and make a ruling. 

Appeals – If a party believes that the court misapplied the law in ruling on a motion, the aggrieved party may file an appeal.

Despite the many scenarios that can prolong a divorce, there are ways to expedite the process through alternative dispute resolution. Everyone contemplating a divorce should consider divorce mediation or collaborative practice. If you have questions about mediation, an experienced family law attorney can help.