If you are at the point in your relationship where you feel it is time to get a divorce, chances are that you want to complete the process as quickly as possible. No one involved is going to want the process to drag on, especially if you are trying to get out of a toxic or loveless marriage. Even if the marriage is ending on friendly terms, you do not want to run up the costs by taking longer than necessary to get the divorce completed. You might be wondering how long does an Omaha divorce take?
Unfortunately, there is not a definitive answer to this question. This is because the length of time that it will take to get a divorce depends on several factors. This includes how long each party takes to gather the necessary documents, both parties agreeing to the terms, and how soon the Court has available hearing time if a hearing or trial is necessary.
How Long Does Omaha Divorce Take?
An uncontested divorce is one in which each party generally agrees to the terms of the divorce even at the start of the case. This type of divorce will take a much shorter amount of time than a contested divorce. Often, an uncontested divorce will be completed in a matter of months. Contested cases often take much more time.
The amount of time that your divorce takes may depend in part on the state in which you live and the Judge assigned to your case. Every state has its own requirements for divorce. For example, in Nebraska, even if you agree to everything on day one, you must still wait the mandatory 60-day waiting period before you can submit your stipulated Decree to the judge to sign. For many uncontested cases, the stipulated Decree is submitted very soon after the 60 day waiting period is up. Thus, many uncontested divorce cases in Nebraska are resolved in 2-3 months.
On the other hand, contested cases take time. Even if you are ready for trial now, the next available trial date likely won’t be until months down the road. Depending on the local court or the particular judge’s backlog, you may need to wait many months before your trial is heard by the judge. Once heard by the judge, the judge may take days, weeks, or sometimes even months to make a decision after the trial date.
If you are considering filing for divorce, it is important to make sure you are familiar with the laws and divorce requirements in your state. They will guide how long it will take to complete your divorce.
Gathering Documents and Evidence
The less disputed the issues, the less time it will typically take to resolve. Also, parties that willingly exchange documents and timely response to requests for information to resolve the matter often resolve the case much quicker (and cheaper) even in contested cases.
If there are a lot of issues in dispute or the other party is withholding information, the time to gather the necessary documents to prove your case can increase the amount of time it takes to resolve. Some parties are diligent and straight-forward with providing the income and information to the other party. Other times, subpoenas, depositions, or expert witnesses are needed to gather the information you need to prove your case or to refute the other party’s argument.
In highly contested or very emotional cases, sometimes the extra time it takes to gather documents isn’t always a bad thing. In some cases, the person has restored confidence once they see the documents and can start to see what life will likely look like after the divorce is finalized. Other cases, the time to gather these documents gives the parties time to reflect and address the divorce with more logic than emotion.
Even in cases with a lot of assets, if there is not a lot of dispute as to the value of the assets, the case may not be nearly as complicated as a client may at first think.
Mediation and Settlement
Mediating the Custody and Parenting Time Issues
Mediation of the custody and parenting time issues is useful, and often court-required, option for cases where children are involved. In Nebraska, if you have children involved and are unable to reach an agreement on a parenting plan on your own, you will likely be required to attempt mediation of the custody and parenting time issues. Mediating the parenting plan can be especially useful in working out the more minor details. Judges tend to look at a case more as a big picture. Whereas whether the children are exchanged at a 5 pm or 6 pm exchange time may make a big difference to you and your life, the judge may not give much thought to these details if the judge decides the case at trial. Even in cases where a trial will likely be necessary to decide who has custody, reaching a partial agreement on some of the more minor details of the parenting plan in mediation can be beneficial. It may keep your overall costs down and result in a final Decree more likely to fit your specific situation.
Keep in mind that if you in agreement on all the custody and parenting time issues, mediation is sometimes the more expensive and more time-consuming option. When the parties are truly in agreement on the custody and parenting time issues, it is often cheaper and less time-consuming to pay an attorney to type up your agreed-upon parenting plan than to go through the mediation process.
Mediating the Financial Issues – Don’t Do it Without Your Own Attorney
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, mediation can often be the more expensive and more time-consuming process to decide the financial issues in a divorce case. A mediator, even if an attorney, won’t be able to give you legal advice. Time and time again, when people try to mediate a case without knowing their rights they end up with a worse result and greater overall legal fees than if they would have negotiated through their own attorneys and made decisions based on legal advice.
If you are trying to negotiate a divorce settlement but have not hired an attorney to advise you of your rights or what is fair, you might end up agreeing to something in mediation that is very unfavorable and not even knows it! Further, if mediation fails, one or both parties may end up with unrealistic expectations as to what is a “fair” divorce settlement increasing the legal fees in the subsequent litigation.
Remember that when an attorney-mediator tells you that they don’t represent either side and aren’t giving either side legal advice, they mean it. In Nebraska, an attorney CAN’T represent both sides. This includes attorney-mediators. If any attorney, mediator or otherwise, tells you that they can advise both parties, you need to steer clear. If your case is so simple that you don’t need an attorney, then you likely aren’t going to benefit from a mediator either.
In order for mediation to be successful, both parties must come into the meeting ready to negotiate and come to terms with the divorce proceedings. Even more importantly, they need to have reviewed with their own attorney what the assets and debts are and what would be the likely award if you did take the case to trial. Without such knowledge, you are negotiating on emotion, not fact, and mediation isn’t likely to result in a “fair” resolution for you.
Overall, there is no set amount of time for any divorce to be finalized. Cases that may seem simple and uncontested can turn into prolonged matters. Cases that seemed complicated can sometimes be resolved in short order when both parties are fair with each other. The length of time your divorce takes depends on the parties but also outside factors like the Court’s scheduling. Even a simple uncontested divorce in Nebraska will take at least two months to complete.
Law Office of Julie Fowler, PC, LLO | Divorce Lawyers Omaha
Child Custody | Child Support | Divorce Lawyers Omaha
If you are looking for an attorney in a child support case or divorce in Omaha, Nebraska, or the surrounding areas (including Papillion, Bellevue, Gretna, Elkhorn, Lincoln, Nebraska City, Sarpy, Lancaster), contact our office to set up a consultation.