You may be considering divorce, but you do not want to spend years battling things out with your spouse. That has been the case for many couples who decided to divorce during the pandemic. With courts closed and law firms having to change up their processes due to COVID-19 safety issues, the courts have been slow to finalize divorces.
So what does this mean for you? If you are tired of being quarantined with your spouse and are ready to move on, how long will you really have to wait? Is a quickie divorce possible?
There really is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to divorce. Each couple’s divorce is different. There are different assets involved. Some couples have children. Some have very few assets, while some are high-asset divorces involving millions of dollars.
Divorces typically do not get finalized very quickly. Expect to wait many months. The average divorce that goes to trial lasts approximately a year, from start to finish. If you manage to get divorced in six months, that would be considered rather quick. Some divorces are uncontested and resolved in a matter of months. Others have been known to take as long as 10 years.
It depends on the issues involved as well as the parties involved. It may be easy to divorce amicably if your partner is willing to agree with you on most of the issues. However, if your spouse is combative and wants to make your life a living hell, then you can expect the divorce process to last much longer.
Many issues crop up during a divorce. You and your spouse may have disagreements over things such as child custody, visitation, child support, property division and alimony. You may want certain assets and your spouse may be unwilling to give them to you. Your spouse may want you to pay them alimony, even though you will already be struggling to pay bills and other expenses. The other parent may want sole custody of the children, preventing you from having any sort of custody for no valid reason.
How to Speed Things Up
The trick to getting your divorce finalized quickly is to avoid litigation. Having to battle things out in court is a good way to prolong the process. Plus, it is costly, so you will want to avoid this route if at all possible. Here are some things to try.
- Consider mediation or collaborative divorce. Divorce does not have to be nasty. In fact, if you and your spouse can work together instead of fighting against each other, you will have a much better outcome. You and your spouse can decide on the specifics of your divorce and come to agreements with which you can both live. If you let the judge decide the main elements of your case, you are both going to end up disappointed, since the judge does not know either of you and will likely make decisions that do not align with your desires.
- Establish boundaries. Keep away from your spouse during this time, especially if being around him or her is causing you to become especially emotional. You may also need to keep friends and family members far away, especially if they are negative about your decision to divorce or are giving you bad advice. Only be around supportive people who have your best interests in mind.
- Pick your battles. Do not sweat the small stuff. If you want to fight over every single detail, you will be waiting years to finalize your divorce. Focus on things that really matter to you.
Stages Involved in a Divorce
Divorces take so long to finalize because they are complex. A divorce could have as many as 10 different stages, so it is no wonder that many take years to finalize. Here are the stages involved in a typical divorce case. As you can see, the process begins even before you file for divorce.
- You decide to divorce. You meet with a lawyer to discuss your case.
- You collect paperwork and information. Your lawyer will need evidence of assets and debts, such as pay stubs, bank statements, mortgage statements, deeds to homes, credit card bills and titles to vehicles.
- You file for divorce. A divorce petition must be served on the other spouse.
- The other spouse responds. The spouse served with the petition must file an answer within 20 days.
- Mediation may be required by the court. The court may require mediation up front to resolve most of the issues.
- The discovery process begins. The spouses can ask each other to submit documents and proof of assets.
- The case goes to trial if it is not settled. The parties should try to reach a settlement agreement on their own. If they do not, the case goes to court.
- The court makes a decision and issues a final decree. The judge will listen to testimony from the lawyers and witnesses and issue a final judgment, known as the divorce decree.
- The spouses have the right to appeal. If the spouses disagree with any of the decisions, they can file an appeal and have the case heard in a different court.
Seek Legal Help
No two divorces are the same. There is no guarantee that your divorce will be finalized in six months or even a year. There are many elements involved and if you and your spouse have disagreements along the way, that can certainly delay the process.
Want to divorce quickly? Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can assess your divorce case and help you come up with options that can speed things up. He will help you get the outcome you desire without sacrificing time. To schedule a consultation, call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.