Timeline in a Divorce Case

If you’re considering getting divorced, you may be wondering what the procedures are and how long they take. The truth is that the timeline in each divorce case depends on the route the couple chooses.

For instance, with no-fault mutual consent divorces, couples need to wait for at least 90 days after filing to get a divorce decree. However, fault divorces may take longer to move forward since one party has to prove that the other committed misconduct.

Other factors that influence a divorce timeline include the couple’s assets and debts and their ability to agree on the divorce terms.

Here’s a general review of the timeline in a divorce case that proceeds to litigation, to enable you to prepare ahead. However, since every situation is unique, you should discuss your case with divorce attorney West Chester PA.

Filing a Divorce Complaint

A divorce process always starts with one spouse’s attorney writing a petition or complaint, stating the reason for the divorce. Some common grounds for divorce include irreconcilable differences, cruel treatment, adultery, and bigamy. The lawyer then files the complaint in court and serves a copy to the other spouse within 30 days.

The served party will have to file a response stating whether or not they agree with the petition. If they don’t send a reply, the court will assume that they agree to the complaint.

Filing Motions for Temporary Orders

Divorcing spouses can decide to file motions requesting temporary relief, with help from divorce attorneys in West Chester, PA. Some of these motions include temporary child support, child custody, spousal support, and restraining orders. The court typically issues these orders at a pre-trial hearing, and they’ll stay in effect until the final hearing of the case.

The Discovery Phase

During this phase, both sides will gather all facts and evidence they’ll need to obtain a fair outcome. Some vital information includes earning history, list and values of assets and debts, and monthly expenses. This phase’s duration depends on the complexity of the necessary information and the cooperation of both parties in supplying them.

Settlement Phase

In some cases, both parties agree on the terms of their divorce, which a court will honor and officially dissolve the marriage. However, some divorces are contested, meaning that both spouses can’t work out the terms themselves. Therefore, the court will order mediation in the presence of a neutral party to help resolve any issues. If they settle at mediation, a judge will approve the agreement at an informal hearing. However, if they can’t agree after mediation, the case will go to trial.

The Trial

At trial, the attorneys from both sides will present their legal arguments before the court. A judge will then decide on unresolved issues relating to child custody, child support, and spousal support. Divorce trials can last for days or weeks before the judge gives the final decree.


The timeline in a divorce case depends on the approach both spouses choose. If you and your spouse file a mutual consent and agree on all terms, the process will be short. It’s advisable to consult divorce attorneys in West Chester, PA, who’ll help you understand how the law applied to your case.