Well, you and your spouse have decided that it’s time to call it quits. Divorce, no matter how amicable the parting, is never a pleasant experience, though, so it’s understandable that you two would want to get this over with as soon as possible.
If that’s your goal, here are five states where you would rather not be living when you file for your divorce, because they’re going to make it slooooow…
1. Vermont Ahh, Vermont—the land of beautiful green mountains, maple syrup, cozy ski lodges, colorful autumn leaves and brutally long divorces. First, the divorcing couple must have lived in Vermont for one year, then there’s a mandatory six month separation where the couple must live apart, and then three months must pass before the divorce is final. So if you feel unsure about your future spouse, you might want to suggest that you two settle in, say, easy-divorce New Hampshire rather than New England neighbor Vermont.
2. Rhode Island How many times could you walk back and forth across tiny Rhode Island while waiting for your divorce to become final? A lot, even if you’re part turtle. In Rhode Island, there’s a mandatory five month cooling off period after you file for your divorce. During that period, your divorce is at a dead stop. You can’t really do anything except possibly get more annoyed at each other (a more likely outcome than coolness). Maybe that’s why Rhode Island has a low divorce rate—everyone gets out of the state before filing!
3. South Carolina Maybe it’s the heat, or the humidity, or the lovely weather that lends itself to long days on the golf course. Maybe those are the reasons for the leisurely pace of ending a marriage in South Carolina, where a one year separation is required before you can file for divorce. Additionally, either both parties must have lived in the state for three months, or one spouse must have lived there for one year in order to divorce. Well, Charleston is a great city for you to enjoy while killing time.
4. Arkansas Remember how when you were a kid the days ticking down to the last day of school seemed to take centuries? That’s how you’ll feel waiting for your divorce in Arkansas, where you have to be separated for eighteen long months. Don’t plan on saving on housing costs by sharing your residence while you’re going through that separation period, either—that’s eighteen months of living apart.
5. California The classic rock staple “Hotel California” ends with the lines, “You can check out any time you like/but you can never leave.” That’s what getting a divorce in California is like—it feels like you’ll never be able to leave your marriage, long after you’ve checked out. The state requires at least six months residency and has a mandatory six month cooling-off period after you file for divorce. To add insult to injury, the filing fee is $395, one of the most expensive fees in the nation. Well, everything else is expensive in California, so why not divorce, too?