Divorce starts with filing a petition. That document starts the legal process and lays out the things that need to be resolved. The grounds of divorce is typically living apart for a time, either 6 months if you don’t have children or a year if you do. That time period can either end before you file or can start with the filing and service of the papers on the spouse.
Let’s say we start the period after we file. The petition will say that you intend to live separate and apart for the required amount of time, but it will also spell out the things that need to be settled right away such as custody, support, and use of the house and vehicles.
A hearing will be set to deal with those things, usually about a month or so after the filing. We typically deal with these, what are called “ancillary” matters fairly quickly, then the finalizing the divorce is more of a formality – by then most if not all of the work of splitting up has already been done.