How Long Does Uncontested Divorce Take?
Uncontested divorce cases are those in which spouses apply together or when one spouse initiates the case and the requests made in the lawsuit are accepted by the other spouse.
Uncontested divorce cases are usually concluded between 1 week and 3 months from the filing of the case. Uncontested divorce cases often end in a single hearing.
Since uncontested divorce cases are based on the agreement of the parties, they are subject to a different procedure than contested divorce cases in practice.
In contested divorce cases, for the judge to reach a decision, a trial must be conducted. This involves the judge gathering evidence by evaluating the claims of the parties and legally assessing them.
In uncontested divorce cases, such a trial process is not necessary because the parties have already reached an agreement, settling the outcome that the judge would arrive at through the trial process. Therefore, the judge examines whether the agreement between the parties contains conditions contrary to public order. If no discrepancies are found, the judge approves the agreement, concluding the case.
Since the judge is not required to go through processes such as responding to the lawsuit, responding to the response, responding to the response to the response, and gathering evidence, uncontested divorce cases are generally concluded within the first week after filing. They become final when the parties waive their right to appeal.
How Many Hearings Does a Contested Divorce Case Take?
A contested divorce case concludes with the completion of the preliminary examination and investigation stages. The preliminary examination hearing is followed by the testimony of witnesses, which may take 2-3 hearings depending on the number of witnesses. If other evidence is to be presented, the case proceeds to an oral trial hearing. Considering these stages, it can be said that a contested divorce case typically concludes in an average of 3-4 hearings.
Upon filing a contested divorce case, the lawsuit petition is served to the other party; the responding party (defendant) provides an answer to the lawsuit petition; the plaintiff may respond to this answer, and the defendant may also exercise the right to submit a response to this response, known as the “reply to the response” petition. In other words, each party has the right to submit two petitions.
After the parties exercise their right to submit two petitions each following the filing of the case, a preliminary examination hearing takes place.
In this scenario, the preliminary examination hearing takes place around the average of the 5th to 6th month after the initiation of the case.
The adjournment period between each hearing is around 3 months in large cities such as Istanbul and Ankara. Therefore, for the year 2023, the resolution of a divorce case in a local court takes approximately 16-18 months.
Appellate Review of Divorce Decision
The reasoned decision issued by the family court is served to the parties. In this case, the parties have the right to submit the decision to a higher court for review. This review process is referred to as an appellate review or ‘istinaf’ examination.
Appellate reviews are conducted in the relevant chambers of the Regional Courts of Justice. The appellate review process is typically completed within an average period of 6 to 12 months.
After the appellate review at the Regional Courts of Justice, it is possible to further appeal the decision of the local court to a higher court. The authority to be appealed to after the appellate review at the Regional Courts of Justice is the relevant chamber of the Court of Cassation (Yargıtay). In divorce cases, the 2nd Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation is the body that conducts the appellate review after the appellate review.
The Court of Cassation’s 2nd Civil Chamber typically completes the appellate review in an average of 10-12 months.