The internet contains countless stories of nightmare divorces that dragged on indefinitely, with each spouse’s dirty linen being aired for public consumption. These types of divorces are not only expensive but also emotionally exhausting.
Fortunately, divorce does not have to be a crushing experience. Instead, there are many tactics couples can use to keep divorce simple and quick. Although not every couple can avoid a contested divorce, they can certainly narrow the range of issues in dispute, which can also accelerate the divorce process.
Fully Consider Your Options Ahead of Time
One reason divorces often take a long time is that a person hasn’t really thought out what they want from the divorce before filing paperwork. As the divorce proceeds, they constantly start shifting their requests to the court, which annoys everybody.
Before filing for divorce, meet with a lawyer to discuss your options and rights. Meeting with an attorney does not commit you to having an angry divorce. Instead, it helps you identify what you want. For example, did you know you might be able to request spousal support to help mitigate the economic unfairness of divorce? Do you think you should request the family home? These are important issues to talk through ahead of time.
Don’t Try to Salvage Your Marriage after Filing
If you are unsure if you want to divorce, don’t file. You will only spend money and lose time if you decide to get back together. Only file if you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, “This marriage is truly over.”
Work in Good Faith to Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse
Dissolution—also called an “uncontested divorce”—is certainly faster than a contested divorce. It is an option if you and your spouse can agree on:
- Child custody, including a custody schedule
- Child support
- Division of marital property
- Division of marital debts
- Spousal support (alimony)
- Grounds for divorce
No matter how much you dislike your spouse, you should check whether you can find common ground. There are many resources that can help. For example, you might try mediation, or you could hire a lawyer for a collaborative divorce.
Divorce often involves compromise. For example, you might want the family home but agree to take more of a retirement account instead. Or you might really want your kids to always spend Christmas with you but agree to alternate every other year.
What you shouldn’t do is agree to something you feel strongly about simply to get the divorce over with quickly. Agreeing that your spouse can have custody can certainly speed up the divorce. But if your spouse has a history of abuse, then this is the wrong approach.
Remember, it takes two people engaging in good faith to have an amicable divorce. If you feel your spouse is being unreasonable, then there is no reason to agree to important issues just to avoid the expense of litigation.
Keep Emotion Separate
One reason people often want to fight in divorce court is because they want to strike back at their spouse. Maybe your husband cheated on you. Or maybe your wife has a younger boyfriend on the side. Regardless of how angry you are, contesting issues is not the right way to go.
Instead, seek therapy if necessary. Many people find that they gain an important perspective on their divorce when talking to a professional. This allows them to see more clearly that many disputes can be solved easily with compromise.
Set Boundaries at Home
If you are continuing to live together, then it is best to agree not to discuss divorce issues except during pre-arranged times. The fact is that you will find more reasons to argue the longer you live together. It is stressful enough.
For example, you could agree to negotiate aspects of your divorce every Sunday afternoon when the children are visiting their grandparents. During the rest of the week, you will not discuss the divorce at all.
Hire an Attorney
Lawyers are often blamed when divorces become contentious. However, the truth is that the client is always in control, and lawyers simply advocate for their clients. We do not benefit by trying to convince our clients to have a nasty divorce like celebrities Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. Quite the opposite: we do our best work when we help our clients reach sensible agreements with the other side.
If you are considering divorce, contact Lawrence Law Office today. We will gladly walk you through the divorce process and help you strategize to make it as painless as possible. Our consultations are always confidential.