When a couple decides to get divorced, it more likely than not has been a long time coming. The problems that lead to the decision to end a marriage usually don’t pop up overnight, and it can be an emotionally and financially taxing ordeal well before any attorneys get involved or papers are filed with the court.
Having already been a long journey to get to the point of divorce, the last thing you want is for the divorce itself to drag on for a long time. While you want to make sure your rights are protected, your children are provided for, and that an equitable settlement is reached, you also want to get things wrapped up as quickly as possible so you can move on to the next chapter of your life.
There are certainly ways to make a Colorado divorce move faster, and faster can often mean cheaper as well. Here are four things you (and your spouse) can get to help the process move forward with as little delay as possible.
1. Get organized.
Assessing your family’s financial situation such that property can be equitably divided and child support and maintenance obligations can be fairly established is often one of the more complex and time-consuming aspects of the divorce process. The marital home, pensions, IRAs and Social Security benefits, a family business, whether one spouse makes a lot more money than the other – all of this impacts how much time will be spent figuring out these key issues.
If you come into your divorce with a clear picture of your finances and that of your spouse and if you have assembled the information and documentation that can spare your attorney the time and cost of having to do it him or herself, that can help the process move forward.
2. Get real.
Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences any of us will ever have to face. The range of emotions involved – many of them negative, destructive, or self-defeating – can become the driving force in a divorce. You may not be able to fully control how your spouse handles his or her feelings during the process, but if you let your emotions control your decision-making and cloud your judgment, you reduce the chances that you and your spouse can resolve the myriad issues that need to be addressed without the court’s intervention.
You may take emotion-fueled actions or make statements which ultimately hurt your case, and cause you to lose focus on the things that truly matter, like your kids. While the end of a marriage is no doubt a deeply personal event, a divorce is a legal proceeding designed to resolve practical issues, not emotional ones. Keeping yours in check and seeking the support and help you need to deal with your feelings in a positive way can keep them from getting in the way of the process.
3. Get on the same page.
Perhaps the biggest factor in whether a divorce will proceed quickly or whether it will drag on is the extent to which a couple can reach agreement on core issues such as custody, visitation, property division, living arrangements, and the like. To the extent you and your spouse can be civil, matter-of-fact, and realistic in discussing these matters, you should attempt to get on the same page as much as possible.
The more you agree upon, the less there is to fight about, and if you can agree on everything, a relatively quick, uncontested divorce is possible. It takes two to talk, of course, and if one or both parties is driven by emotions such as anger, resentment, retribution or a desire to “win” at all costs, reaching an amicable resolution can be difficult if not impossible. This will lead to fights in court that can take a long time to resolve and could mean that a trial is necessary to bring your divorce to a conclusion, adding months or even years to the process.
4. Get a lawyer who gets it – and gets you.
In divorce and other matters, people sometimes see lawyers as getting in the way and making things more complicated, drawn-out, or expensive than they otherwise would be. But a good divorce lawyer who understands your needs and concerns, who knows how to work civilly and productively with opposing counsel and the judge, and who has the experience to navigate the process efficiently can make a divorce proceed much more quickly.
You want a lawyer who gets the law, but also gets that you want this ordeal over with as soon as possible without compromising your rights. The right divorce lawyer will protect your interests but will also try to find ways to keep the process moving forward, trying to reach fair and equitable agreements whenever possible.