Some states have chosen to make obtaining a finalized divorce decree more challenging than the process otherwise might be. Specifically, these states have chosen to impose a waiting period related to divorce filings. Practically speaking, these waiting periods generally require couples to weather a specific amount of time between the date that they file for divorce and the date that their divorce may be legally finalized. Depending on the state in question, divorce waiting periods range from a few months to a few years. It is therefore important to speak with an experienced family law attorney about whether your state of residence imposes waiting periods and/or additional restrictions on divorcing couples before you commit to a specific timeline and vision of how your divorce process will progress.
Divorce Waiting Periods: The Basics
Why do states impose waiting periods? Most of the time, these waiting periods are passed as part of legislative efforts to support the institution of marriage and encourage couples to seek alternatives to divorce. The logic behind waiting periods is that couples may decide to ?stick it out? with each other and heal their relationships if they cannot obtain divorces quickly. Most of the time, this logic does not hold because couples who file for divorce have already thought long and hard about the decision they are choosing to make and have made at least some peace with that decision. However, it is possible that longer waiting periods may inspire some couples to seek counseling, etc. It is not terribly likely that this happens often, but it is possible.
It is important to note that couples impacted by a significant divorce-related waiting period may benefit from the legal protections afforded by the legal separation process. Filing for legal separation entitles couples to property division, child custody, child support and spousal support rights and responsibilities before a divorce is finalized. If this legal tool may benefit your family?s unique situation, please consider asking your attorney about legal separation as a potential option for you and your spouse.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about the divorce process generally and/or the timing of your divorce petition specifically, please do not hesitate to connect with an experienced family law attorney today. Every state approaches the divorce process in different ways. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to speak with an attorney before making any assumptions about the particulars of your situation. Once a member of a legal team better understands your unique circumstances, needs and priorities, a law firm will be well positioned to answer any questions you may have and to advise you of your legal options. At that point, a lawyer can craft a strong legal strategy designed to help you achieve your divorce-related goals. Consultations are both confidential and risk-free, so please don?t hesitate to schedule a consultation with the best family attorneys in Tampa, FL today.?
Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and understanding divorce waiting periods.
*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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