Even celebrities stress out over how long their divorce is taking. We’ve never met anyone having a divorce who doesn’t want to know how they can get through it just as quickly as possible.
While it’s impossible to predict how long your divorce will take, there are a few things you can do to make sure the process runs smoothly.
Stop listening to friends and family members.
Everyone you know is going to have some sort of advice about your divorce. Most of it is going to be bad advice.
In part, this is going to be because your loved ones want to support you but have no idea what to do. So they’ll give you well-meaning advice based on their own divorce, on their second-cousin’s divorce from another state where they don’t know all the facts, or even based on what they saw on television once.
In fact, some of these so-called friends won’t even be around after the divorce is done.
The only advice worth listening to? A recommendation for a family lawyer.
The only exception? If your friend or family member happens to be a family lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state where you’re getting your divorce and who has agreed to represent you.
Gather the documents you’ll need.
The surest way to drag out your divorce is to create a situation which requires us to do hours of discovery. Coming armed with all your financial paperwork, knowing what you and your spouse own and owe down to the last penny, makes a huge difference.
And it’s not just the discovery process you save time on. When we have the full financial picture from the get-go it becomes very easy to suggest an equitable settlement that looks pretty close to what the courts would do anyway.
Don’t pin all your financial hopes on your spouse.
Even if you get spousal support, and child support, that amount may be far less than you need or want to live on. You need a plan B, one that makes you financially independent. Attain financial independence and you can spend a whole lot less time fighting over money, because your well-being and survival no longer depend on it.
It’s a perception thing, too. Nobody wants to feel like they’re supporting someone else’s ability to live without working while they grind away. But a spouse who recognizes your earning power versus his or hers might be willing to fill in the gaps with a reasonable amount of money.
Come in with a game plan.
Knowing exactly what you want out of your divorce is one of the best ways to help the process move smoothly. Be ready to articulate what matters to you, what would be nice to have, and what you don’t care about in the least. Articulating it to yourself, before you articulate it to us, means you’re not fighting over things you don’t care about.
There is nothing quite like realizing you’ve spent half a year and thousands of dollars fighting about something you don’t care about.
Make sure you’re calm and centered when you do this exercise. Keep saying to yourself: “I’m dissolving a legal contract, not punishing my ex.” The more you get into that mindset the better off you’ll be.
See also: How to Lower the Cost of Your Divorce.
Make sure your expectations are realistic.
It goes without saying taking your case to court will drag things out even more. For one thing, family courts are backlogged, so you can expect to wait a few months before anyone is ready to hear your case.
You’ll also end up putting large portions of your life into the hands of someone who barely knows you.
See also: 5 Ways to Waste Your Energy During a Divorce.
Hire an attorney.
A pro se divorce may look quick and easy. There’s certainly any number of websites out there trying to sell people on “divorce packages.”
Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re doing you could create big mistakes that mean lots more time in court later. You’ll end up hiring an attorney anyway, and paying a lot more to fix things than you would have paid if you’d just let us do it right the first time.
And that’s if you can fix any of it at all.
Are you facing a divorce? Get the help you need by calling our offices for your free consultation today.