I’ve had enough clients and other people ask me about the “automatic” two year divorce, that I wanted to address it here. The court does not automatically issue a divorce decree after spouses have been separated for two years or two years after a divorce complaint is filed.

If both spouses don’t consent to a divorce and one spouse will not consent to the appointment of a divorce master to decide the divorce action, then the spouse wishing to be divorced must wait two years from the time they separate to request the appointment of a divorce master. After the two year mark, the court may appoint a divorce master to hold a hearing even if one spouse objects.

Having a divorce master appointed simply starts the court process and it could easily be several months or longer before the divorce master actually conducts a hearing. That means it could be much longer than two years after separation before the court actually enters a divorce decree, depending on how long it takes to have the divorce master hearing and resolve any appeals.

The bottom line is that at some point, even if spouses can’t agree about whether to divorce and how to deal with the related financial issues, the court will make those decisions. If you’re the spouse who wants a divorce, you will eventually be able to be divorced even if your spouse does not consent. If you’re the spouse who doesn’t want a divorce to happen, it means that eventually the divorce will take place even if it’s against your will. Therefore, even if you don’t want the divorce to happen, it is in your best interests to engage with your spouse to make the decisions surrounding your divorce instead of having the court make those decisions for you.