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How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Child Custody Case?

Hourglass

Many divorcing parents worry about how long it will take to resolve their child custody case, allowing their family to begin the process of moving on with their lives.  This is a valid concern, as a divorce cannot be finalized until all child custody issues are resolved, so prolonging the resolution of these matters will also prolong the entire divorce.

A Case Specific Inquiry

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set standard for how long a child custody case will take. Rather, the timeline for a child custody case will be dependent on a particular family’s specific circumstances, including:

  • The type of divorce the couple is pursuing;
  • The needs of the child; and
  • The nature of the parents’ relationship.

Generally, the better two parents get along and the less disagreement there is regarding divorce-related issues, the faster a child custody case will be resolved. Couples who are willing to work together in an out-of-court setting (rather than litigating) can also expect their cases to be resolved more quickly, giving all of the parties involved more time to transition to post-divorce life.

Uncontested Child Custody Cases

Only couples who don’t share children are allowed to pursue a simplified divorce, meaning that they won’t need to attend a number of court hearings and deal with drawn-out litigation, resolving their divorce in as little as a few weeks. It is still possible, however, for two parents to finalize their custody issues by pursuing an uncontested divorce. In these cases, the parents will develop a parenting plan in an out-of-court setting, bringing the final agreement to the court for approval. This eliminates the need to engage in prolonged hearings and court proceedings and some uncontested divorces take as little as a month to six weeks. It could, however, take a bit longer from the time of filing to finalization, depending on whether the parties use the maximum time allowed for the filing process.

Contested Custody Issues

Divorces with contested child custody issues tend to take much longer, often lasting anywhere from six to 18 months from the time of filing to finalization. Parents who don’t agree on a parenting plan, but who want to expedite this process should consider pursuing alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, to resolve conflict and help speed along a resolution. If, however, a couple cannot reach an amicable solution, then they will need to pursue litigation, where a judge will make a decision on the parties’ behalf. These proceedings tend to take the most time, as the parties will need to work with the court’s schedule and attend multiple hearings.

Do You Have a Question or Concern About Child Custody in Florida?

We understand that child custody is probably at the forefront of your mind if you share children with your spouse and are seeking a divorce. For guidance throughout this process, call dedicated Florida child visitation and time-sharing attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. Call our office at 954-945-7591 or fill out one of our online contact forms to set up a free initial consultation.

Sources:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.13.html

flcourts.org/content/download/403367/file/995a.pdf

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