Many of us have heard or experienced stories of divorces that take months or even years to finalize. Those involved in these stories often feel exhausted, frustrated and angry when the process takes longer than it has to.
Lengthy, drawn-out divorces are not the standard, so understanding why they can play out this way and what you can do to avoid a lengthy and contentious divorce and separation can be crucial.
(1) If one or both people in a divorce are so angry or hurt that they refuse to cooperate or compromise, a quick conclusion to a divorce/separation case is unlikely.
Under these circumstances, a former loving couple can be more interested in punishing the other person than they are in putting this process behind them. They wind up spending so much time trying to heal old wounds or fighting over irrelevant details that the process drags on and ends up as unproductive.
However, with the help of solution oriented family law lawyers, you can stay on top of the process. They can help you to take only the strictly necessary steps – financial disclosure without argument or fuss is one of them. Avoiding court where at all possible is another great idea. And where you do have to access the court, then avoid where at all possible unnecessary steps and focus on getting to a solution. Use each step of the process strategically in order to reach a final resolution as soon as possible.
(2) Dealing with financial records, assets and liabilities can be incredibly complicated, particularly for parties with significant property. It can take quite some time to categorize and identify all aspects of marriage date and separation date assets and liabilities, let alone each agreed upon values for all that.
Consulting professionals, diligent recordkeeping and honesty in financial disclosure and in legal documents – these are all ways to avoid costly delays and setbacks.
(3) The two people divorcing are not the only people involved in the legal process. There can also be witnesses, professionals, and others who will be part of the schedule of events. Further, if you are in court, the backlogs there can be a factor, making it challenging to schedule hearings as quickly as people would like.
(4) Avoiding court litigation is one of the easiest ways to avoid timing issues with the court. Resolving matters outside of court can help the divorce move more quickly. And there are alternative modes of dispute resolution such as “med-arb” – a combination of mediation and arbitration. And let’s not ignore the attractiveness to many of “Collaborative Law”. [Jenny Kirshen is qualified to practice collaborative law.]
Trying to go through this alone
(5) The fact is that most people do not have the familiarity with the legal system to know what they don’t know and understand. In other words, you may know what you want in your divorce, but if you try to put those pieces together yourself, you could run into delays and complications.
You could miss deadlines, fail to file certain motions or reach unenforceable agreements, all of which can create more work by having to later fix these issues.