We all know that divorce, particularly when children are involved, is an arduous process. Potentially a very expensive process depending on assets involved, the degree to which the parties are cooperative or if animosity is the driving emotion. Divorce is represented this way in the cultural realm as well, there are limitless references to a wife or husband “getting everything in the divorce” or a divorce dragging on for years, and with many cultural myths, this has some basis in reality.
The basis in reality stems from the simple truth that it benefitted some lawyers, and some clients to make cases last as long as possible. Attorneys, particularly in domestic relations law, typically charge by the hour, and if a divorce is exceptionally adversarial, and the clients have deep pockets, a case could go on for years to the benefit of no one involved in the case except the attorney. Some attorneys took advantage of this, and need to rein this sort of behavior in was recognized. In the Hamilton County Domestic Relations Local Rules there is outlined different “tracks” that set outside limits on how long a case should be expected to take. While these cases can still take what may seem like a staggeringly long time to resolve, it at least gives everyone involved an idea of the limits of what they can expect. Any divorce or dissolution is likely to take a couple of months at least in Ohio (a final merits in a dissolution case must be sent 30 – 90 days after the filing of the petition for dissolution with associated documents, but that time would not include the negotiation aspect of a dissolution).
In Hamilton County a divorce with children (the most complicated as it involves property and parenting issues) should take at most 18 months. If a case appears that it will last longer than that, attorneys and magistrates can be held accountable if they cannot provide good reason why the case has not been resolved or gone to trial. A divorce without children is capped at 12 months. Dissolutions are capped at 3 months (90 days as referenced earlier), and there are different “tracks” for custody, support, domestic violence and so on.
So, like any question asked to an attorney, the answer to the questions, “How long is this going to take?” depends on the facts of the individual case, but they shouldn’t take any longer than 18 months.
Source: The Gavel