If you’re on the verge of filing for divorce and you’re not sure what the process looks like, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it now. You need to know what you’re getting into before the stress and emotions of the situation begin to weigh on you. Knowing the process will also give you something to look ahead to as you wonder if the divorce will ever be final. Below we would like to give you an idea of what the divorce process looks like, and although each case is different, here is a general timeline of how long it will take.

The Process of a Divorce 

  • Jurisdiction –

    This will determine where your divorce will be heard. You will need to find out where jurisdiction lies and every state has different rules for bestowing jurisdiction. In most states a party must have lived there for 180 days before filing for divorce.

  • Summons and Petition –

    The divorce process is usually commenced by serving the other part with a Summons and Petition for divorce or legal separation. The summons is a general document that announces that divorce or legal separation has commenced. The petition has two parts: First, it is a statement which sets out basic facts such as identities of the parties, whether they have children, and what assets they may hold. The second part of the petition seeks relief, such as an award to custody, spousal maintenance, or child support and a division of assets and debt.

  • Answer and Counter Petition –

    The opposing party usually has 30 days to respond to the summons and petition. The answer is very simply the opposing party’s statement of facts and their request for relief. Often the service of an answer is relieved.

  • Temporary Hearings –

    Temporary hearings are designed to resolve issues while the divorce is pending.

  • Mediation –

    Courts will often time request a mediation when the couples meet with a qualified, neutral professional, who will attempt to get them to resolve their differences.

Depending on the state you live in you may have to attend co-parenting classes, advance case review, and conduct a discovery investigation. The final part of the process will be the settlement and trial. It may drag on longer if the opposing parts files an appeal or requests a modification. That brings us to our timeline.


How long you can expect the divorce process to take depends on whether or not it is contested. This means that it can take anywhere from three months – if not contested – or anywhere between 9 months to a year – if it is contested.

 Contact Ronald L. Kossack | Maricopa County Divorce Attorney

If you are preparing to file for divorce and have any questions or are in need of legal advice or representation, please contact the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack. He will explain each step of the process and tell you what you can expect regarding your case. Call Ronald L. Kossack today at 480-345-2652.