One of the questions we are most often asked is how long it will take to be divorced. Some clients are divorced in about six to eight months, while others may not be divorced for several years.
There are many factors that impact the timeline of a divorce, such as:

Mandatory separation.

Virginia has mandatory periods of separation for parties to complete before they may finalize their divorce.
Parties without minor children, and who are in agreement with the terms of their divorce, must be separated for six months.
Parties with minor children, or who are not in agreement with the terms of their divorce, must be separated for one year.
After this period of mandatory separation has been completed, the parties may file for divorce.
For example, if your mandatory period of separation was completed on July first, you could file for divorce on July second. If both parties are in agreement to the terms of the divorce, all that remains is filing paperwork. Generally, Prince William County Court processes divorces in four to eight weeks, but sometimes this timeline is shorter or longer, more often longer than shorter.
To fulfill this period of mandatory separation, parties may reside in the same house but must live separate lives as much as possible. For example:

  • Neither party should wear their wedding rings.
  • The parties should sleep in separate rooms.
  • The parties should not be physically intimate.
  • The parties should not give each other romantic gifts such as flowers or cards for anniversaries or Valentines Day.
  • The parties should not eat meals together or do chores for each other such as laundry.
  • The parties should present themselves as separated publicly by: changing their relationship status on social media, not going to events together or doing anything that could be perceived as a date, etc.

Reconciliation Attempts

Any attempts to reconcile reset the mandatory period of separation to the date the reconciliation was attempted.
If you are unsure if you and spouse have impacted your mandatory separation with a reconciliation attempt, the lawyers at The Hopkins Law firm can help you determine what your next steps should be.

Agreements or Disagreements on the Terms of Formal Dissolution

If the parties agree with the terms of the formal dissolution of their marriage to include the custodial arrangement of any minor children born to the parties, the disposition of all assets, debts and other property acquired during the marriage, they will be able to be divorced more efficiently.
Any disagreements that occur extend the divorce process because the parties must be in agreement to finalize the divorce.
Whether you and your spouse agree or disagree on the terms of your divorce, the lawyers at The Hopkins Law firm are ready to help you with your unique legal needs.

An Unresponsive Party

If one of the parties to a divorce refuses to participate in the divorce process, their silence can delay the divorce being finalized for a time, but it will not make finalizing the divorce impossible.
If you are dealing with an unresponsive spouse, the lawyers at The Hopkins Law firm are ready to tackle the frustration for you and help you finalize your divorce.

Scrivener’s Errors

If the pleadings, the legal term for paperwork, contain mistakes, the process will be delayed until they are fixed. While some parties file for divorce successfully as a “pro se” Plaintiff or Defendant, which means on their own behalf without legal representation, many choose to hire a lawyer to ensure their divorce is filed correctly and efficiently.
The lawyers at The Hopkins Law firm have significant experience filing for divorce efficiently. They are ready to help you with making filing your divorce a smooth process.

The Court’s Case Load

The Court processes divorces in the order in which they are received, so the more divorces they have to process, the longer parties may wait to be officially divorced. There is no way to move your case ahead in line; you must wait for your case to be processed in the order it was received.


No matter what the circumstances of your divorce are, The Hopkins Law Firm is ready to assist you with your unique legal needs. Contact us today at or 571-248-2210.


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