Between 40 and 50% of married American couples get divorced. Despite how common divorces occur, there’s a lot people don’t know about the divorce process.
How long does divorce take? What’s the cost of the average divorce? What does the divorce process even look like?
The road ahead can seem daunting. With a plan, however, you can make the divorce process fast and easy. Instead of navigating in the dark, you can avoid pitfalls and speed up the process.
Discover a fast and easy divorce with this helpful guide!
1. Make Sure
Before starting the divorce process, make sure you’re sure.
You’re about to make a life-changing decision. If you have kids, it could impact their lives, too. Filing for divorce will change parts of your life you might not have considered, including your finances and current lifestyle.
Before filing for a divorce, make sure to review your options. Can you and your spouse work out your problems? Maybe you want to consider speaking with a marriage counselor to work through your issues.
Once you file the divorce papers, it’s difficult to undo the process. It could also create a rift between you and your spouse that you can’t repair.
Make sure your certain before you start using the rest of these tips.
Once you make the decision to file for divorce, make sure to gather a support team around you. Do you have any friends or family members who have worked through this process in the past? Turn to them for guidance.
Ask questions about their own divorce process. Was it a fast divorce? Did they ever regret the decision?
What made them sure that a divorce was the right decision?
Speaking with someone who has gone through a divorce will help you learn more about the process. You can prepare yourself for the steps you need to take ahead. Beyond that, however, it can also provide you with a shoulder to lean on.
Divorce is oftentimes an emotional process. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. Instead, create a support team of friends and family members who can guide you along the way.
2. Organize Your Finances
Ask your spouse about your current financial situation. You don’t have to mention divorce at this point. Instead, learn everything you can about your family’s monthly expenses.
Where are you spending money? How much? You’ll also need to determine how much debt you’re in and if you have any investments.
The divorce process involves distributing assets and debts equally. Learning as much about your financial situation as possible now will help when you file for divorce.
What do you and your spouse own? Possessions can include cars, your marital home, and anything in your accounts. You’ll also want to consider pension plans, inheritances, and possessions.
If possible, find documentation for any possessions and assets. How much are they worth? When were the items purchased?
If you have recent documentation of a real estate appraisal, grab that, too.
Otherwise, get copies of your bank statements and credit report. The report will list any debts you have.
Do you have recent income tax return statements and pay stubs? If you or your spouse are self-employed, grab bank account statements instead.
You’ll need copies of these documents for you and your lawyer.
3. Have a Plan
How long does divorce take? The process depends on you and your spouse. Regardless, you’ll want to have a long-term plan, just in case.
First, establish a budget to follow after your divorce. Consider your current cost of living. Once the divorce is finalized, your income will likely decrease.
As a result, you’ll need to adjust how much you spend each month.
Try to make a financial plan for yourself. You can start by making a list of your current expenses. Split your expenses into categories like transportation, food, rent and utilities, and entertainment.
Estimating how much you’re spending now can help during divorce negotiations.
Some married couples keep all lines of credit under one spouse’s name. If you don’t have any credit cards under your name, it can take time to establish credit. Consider getting a credit card under your name before you file for a divorce.
Then, make small purchases over time. Try to use your credit card sparingly. The point is to establish a good credit score.
In the meantime, avoid moving out of your marital home. If you want to stay in your home after the divorce, moving out prematurely could affect the outcome.
4. Start Interviewing
In order to avoid any bumps down the road, consider hiring a divorce lawyer. There are over 76,258 family law and divorce lawyers in the country. Working with a lawyer can help you avoid legal problems that can prolong the divorce process.
For example, filing the wrong paperwork could cause unnecessary delays.
Instead, make sure you find a lawyer who has years of experience with divorce law. Their prior experience will help streamline the process. Otherwise, they could slow you down.
First, check the Martindale-Hubbel law directory. Start drafting a list of prospective lawyers to contact.
Next, make sure they’re currently licensed to practice law. You can check their credentials by visiting your local bar association’s website.
Once you have a short list, take the time to interview each one. Make sure the lawyer you choose has availability. Otherwise, they’ll split their focus between your case and another.
Don’t forget to ask about their fees. The cost of the average divorce is about $15,000 per person. That includes attorney’s fees, court costs, and hiring outside experts.
If you file an uncontested divorce, however, it might cost a minimum of $1,000.
5. Gather Evidence
Before filing for divorce, you’ll want to make sure you have all the documentation for your case. These can include:
- Share online account documentation
- Car documentation
- Financial account records
- Phone records
Make sure to review these documents with your lawyer. They might determine you need other documentation to improve your case.
6. File Uncontested
If you want a fast and easy divorce, your best option is to file uncontested.
Uncontested divorces are also referred to as no-fault divorces. You can only file an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse are amicable and agreeable. In these cases, you’re both able to agree on how you want to divide joint assets without arguing.
An uncontested divorce is also ideal if there are no wrongdoings such as abuse, mental cruelty, or adultery.
How long does it take to finalize divorce when filing uncontested? If you’re both committed, it might only take a few months.
Whether you plan on filing uncontested or not, it’s important to hire an experienced divorce lawyer. They’ll make sure you correctly submit your paperwork to the court. Otherwise, a judge might reject your paperwork if the content wasn’t legally sufficient.
Even if you and your spouse are in total agreement, filing incorrectly could slow the process down.
Filing uncontested will also help you avoid going to court. Again, this can help speed up the process. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for your court date, which could take a while.
How long does divorce take? It really depends on your situation.
For example, let’s say you don’t have kids or many assets to fight over. In that case, you can complete your divorce within two to three months.
What if you’re amicable, but there are still areas that require negotiation? In these cases, you’ll need a meditator. The meditator will act as a neutral third party to help you and your spouse work out the negotiations.
If you require a meditator, the process can take a few months or a few years. It depends on how long it takes you and your spouse to come to an agreement.
It more complicated situations, you’ll need to consider arbitration. In these cases, you and your spouse will work with a judge or attorneys to work through your issues. Unlike a mediator, however, the arbitrator can make decisions when you can’t.
For example, let’s say you need to discuss child support.
With arbitration, the divorce judge will consider both sides of the story. Then, they’ll decide on a set amount for child support for you.
How long does divorce take with an arbitrator? Usually, arbitration is a lot faster than going to court.
If you have to wait for court dates, the process could take between three or four years.
The duration of your divorce depends on you and your spouse. How long will it take for the two of you to come to an agreement? If you can agree, filing the paperwork is fast and easy.
How Long Does Divorce Take?: Your Guide to Making It Fast and Easy
How long does divorce take? Really, it depends on you and your spouse. With these tips, you can speed up the process and hopefully finalize everything within a few months.
Searching for post-divorce tips? Check the Dating section of the blog today.