Thinking about filing for divorce? Wondering how long the process will take from beginning to end? In Michigan and elsewhere, the divorce timeline really depends on how one chooses to approach it. No matter how one goes about it, a divorce law attorney can help one finalize the dissolution as swiftly as possible.

How can one approach the divorce process? There are several ways, actually. In Michigan, it is possible to file a DIY divorce. This means that a person can file and wait for the dissolution to be accepted in court, which usually takes a couple of months. The DIY approach may sound appealing, but it may result in a settlement agreement that is lopsided and only benefits one party — which doesn’t really make it the smartest choice.

Another approach a couple can take is mediation. Those who go this route have issues to resolve but do not want a judge to have the final say. So, the couple agrees to meet with a mediator whose job is to help the couple talk through the problems and come to fair terms. A mediator cannot take sides. Mediation can take days, weeks, months or years — every case is different.

The next approach that will be discussed is negotiated settlements. This is where each party depends on legal counsel to negotiate the terms of the divorce. This is typically done by attorneys calling each other and talking things out, or sending settlement letters back and forth until an agreement is reached. There is no definitive timeline for how long it takes to reach a settlement this way.

The last approach that will be discussed is litigation. If mediation or negotiations fail, going to court may be the only way to reach a settlement. Once the case goes to court, the matter may be closed fairly quickly. The time issue in such cases comes in getting a hearing date. The court may be booked out for months.

Michigan residents who are interested in ending their marriages can turn to a divorce law attorney for counsel and assistance. With help, it is possible to choose the best divorce approach for one’s needs. It is also possible to finalize the dissolution in a timely manner.