If you wish to finish the divorce process and start your new life as quickly as possible, there are steps that you can take and things you can do to speed up your divorce. Getting through your divorce quickly can not only save time but money and stress, as well. It is often in a couple’s best interests to work together to make a divorce as smooth, fast and painless as it can be using a few proven strategies.
Aim for an Uncontested Divorce
In California, the fastest that you can get divorced is six months, as this is the mandatory waiting period. No couple can have their divorce finalized sooner than six months after the petition has been filed. This waiting period gives a couple the ability to reconcile before the divorce is finalized. You and your spouse can use this waiting period to your advantage to prepare for your divorce.
The best way to achieve a fast divorce is by making it collaborative. A collaborative or uncontested divorce means that both parties agree on all the terms of the dissolution of marriage: child custody, child support, property and debt division, and spousal support. If you can both agree on the terms, you can sign off on a settlement agreement. At the end of your waiting period, a judge will sign and finalize your divorce, without any further litigation necessary.
Going to trial for a contested divorce, on the other hand, can take a year or longer depending on how busy the courthouse is in your county. For some couples, a drawn-out court battle can take multiple years before the divorce is finalized. A trial has many stages that can each take several days or weeks, including discovery, depositions and the trial itself. A trial is also more expensive than reaching a divorce settlement.
Try Mediation or Arbitration
Mediation and arbitration are two tools that could help you and your spouse reach an agreement and avoid a lengthy trial. These are both out-of-court processes that can help a couple communicate more effectively and work through any issues of contention. They both rely on unbiased third parties to assist with conflict resolution. If the relationship dynamic with your spouse makes it difficult to work together and compromise, alternative dispute resolution may be a good option to save time and achieve a collaborative divorce.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Being prepared can save you a lot of time during a divorce case in California. Do what you can to prepare ahead of time by gathering any relevant documents and records you might need, such as financial records, bank statements and tax returns for the last five years. You will also need personal information, such as proof of state residency, your employer’s name and contact information, and salary or wage documents.
Gather any marriage and past divorce certificates, texts and emails from your spouse, information about your children, and anything else you might need during your case. If you have legal documents, such as insurance policies, end-of-life plans, jointly owned business paperwork or a will, put these in your divorce folder, as well. Finally, create a list of your personal property, along with any deeds, titles, receipts or bills of sale.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
If you wish to speed up your divorce without compromising your rights or coming to a low-quality agreement, hire a divorce attorney. An attorney can make the divorce process efficient by filling out confusing paperwork, filing petitions and subpoenas, handling communications with the other party, and taking care of many other tasks on your behalf. Your lawyer will look for ways to save time, such as helping you and your ex-spouse achieve an uncontested divorce rather than going to trial. A skilled divorce lawyer can save you a great deal of time on your divorce case.