Ways to Expedite a Divorce
Our society has become accustomed to fast, cheap, and easy solutions, and our expectations for legally filing and processing divorce are no exception. We expect expedient legal options at the functional equivalent of a drive-thru window. But quick and cheap are not always the best options when dealing with marriage and divorce. There are some prudent suggestions to factor into planning and decision-making. Hopefully, the tips below will save you valuable time and money.
Come to Agreement on Everything
Every asset, piece of furniture, household good, property, dollar, debt, and liability must be accounted for and distributed between a couple when they divorce for the property distribution. This can be a complex process, especially for items with sentimental attachment.
Child custody and support are more difficult. If these matters can be agreed upon, however, as well as spousal support, then divorce can proceed with more speed. The more a couple agrees to in advance or on their own, the less they need to involve lawyers, and the time and funds for same.
Most states still have mandatory waiting periods before a divorce becomes final. Those periods can be at least six months for those without children and at least one year for those with kids.
Pursue a Summary Divorce
For qualifying parties, most states offer a summary divorce. The summary divorce tends to be a faster and cheaper divorce for those few who qualify for this legal option. Generally, those who qualify for this remedy have no children, minimal income and assets, and their marriage is of a relatively brief tenure.
The paperwork required for the legal process is minimized, as is the time and money required to seek this divorce. Most notably, there are no attorneys' fees associated with a summary divorce. Instead, couples tender a joint statement making the request for a summary divorce and setting forth their eligibility for its qualifications. Some states, such as California, do not require a judge to take part for the divorce to become final, though the requirement for the mandatory cooling off period remains.
Pursue Pro Se/DIY Divorce
By doing your own divorce paperwork in lieu of hiring counsel, you can save legal fees. A couple does not have to qualify for a summary divorce to proceed without counsel. It is generally advisable to pursue this option only when there are solid agreements reached on major items such as child custody, child and spousal support, and property division.
If major issues remain contested, counsel of a qualified divorce attorney is usually recommended. Even if attorneys' fees are reduced or eliminated, the fees associated with the process of filing, service of process, and court costs remain. Even in an expedited divorce, those charges cannot be eliminated.