How long does it take to go through a divorce or custody case?

The best answer to this question is the cliché “every snowflake is different.”  Every family court case, or those involving a divorce or child custody case, moves at its own pace.  There is no specific deadline requiring these cases to come to a certain end.  There are a number of factors that have a direct influence on how quickly or slowly a case is resolved.  Those factors include:

  1. Are one or both of the parties represented by an attorney who knows the court system and process or/are both parties representing themselves and going to try to navigate on their own?
  1. Do the parties get along and can speak civilly with one another or do they argue about everything the first chance they get?
  1. Are both parties willing to go to mediation to try to find a solution to the legal issues or is a trial the only way to bring the legal case to an end?
  1. Is the court case being held in a smaller county where the court calendar has more flexibility or a larger county where the court calendar fills up quickly?

Minnesota law states people representing themselves are required to know the law and the timelines in which court hearings happen.  While not every person going through a court case has an attorney, parties are treated like attorneys and the outcome of a case may be negatively affected if documentation is not filed with the court in a certain way and within a specific period of time.  This can create some harsh results where there is no way to fix mistakes.

Judges are given up to 90 days to make rulings, or decisions when parties have judges make decisions about their children, debts, or assets.  This can be a long time to wait if you have a time-sensitive matter.

A divorce or custody case can begin and end in three to four months if the couple can work out their issues on their own and without any significant court hearings.  It can take up to a year or longer to complete these sorts of cases if a couple cannot come to any agreements.  Only a small percentage of cases go to trial a year while the rest settle in a few months or hours before a trial.

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce or custody case.

Jessica Sterle