Once the decision is made to file for divorce, the most common question asked, is how long will it take to finalize my divorce. While the answer depends on many factors, at a minimum, there will be a sixty-day wait from the date of service of the petition on the spouse who did not file for divorce or from the date the non-filing spouse filed an acceptance of service with the court. This is often referred to as the “cooling off” period. However, it is also the perfect time, if you and your spouse are able to do so together or with the assistance of your lawyers, to discuss a resolution of the issues.

Assuming all issues, such as parenting time, support, property, and debts, are completely settled between you and your spouse, a consent decree can be submitted to the judge for his or her approval after the sixty-day waiting period. Once signed by the judge, your divorce will be final.

The finality of your divorce decree, referred to as the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, is important for many reasons. It affects your right to remarry, your eligibility for health insurance from your former spouse, and filing status for income taxes. And, while you may sign the papers and submit them to the court, keep in mind that the date that triggers the time period for a divorce becoming final is the date that the divorce decree is entered and filed by the clerk of the court.


About the Author:

Marlene Pontrelli is a Member in our Phoenix office. Marlene is a certified specialist in family law. Her practice focuses on all aspects of family law including dissolution, post-dissolution, paternity, child custody and child support matters. She is admitted to practice in California and Arizona. She is a member of the State Bar’s Family Law Practice and Procedure Committee and is a judge pro tem for the Superior Court of Maricopa County in family law. She has extensive trial and appellate experience including appearing before the Arizona Court of Appeals, Arizona Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Pontrelli has written several books, including as a co-author of the Divorce in Arizona book. She is a frequent lecturer in the area of family law and has conducted workshops throughout the country. Ms. Pontrelli is also an adjunct professor at The Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, where she teaches the family law class. Marlene may be reached in our Phoenix office at 602-285-5081.