I have to believe that anyone going through a divorce wants it to go as quickly as possible. The reasons? To avoid large legal fees, to have the stress of the unknown taken away, and to move on with their lives. The reality is, however that a quick divorce is almost always the exception-not the rule.
Why is that? Because emotions get in the way and one or both of the people are angry, resentful, and scared.
I got this question from a male reader, who I am assuming is newly separated:
How long does the divorce process take and how can you expedite it?
It is impossible for me to answer the first part of this question, because a divorce can take a month, or it can take 6 years. (I actually know someone whose divorce took 6 years-maybe longer).
So, how can you expedite the divorce process? In other words, how can you increase the chance of a quick divorce? Here are 10 tips:
- Stop talking about the past. Instead of saying “How did we end up here?” or “How could you do this to us?” say “How can we divide up our parenting time in a way we both feel comfortable?” See the difference? There is no point in bringing up the past. It’s over and only delays the divorce process.
- Try not to focus on anger/resentment. Instead focus your eye on the prize, which is being officially divorced so you can move on and stop paying attorneys.
- Manage your divorce. Attorneys really drag things out. They have all these other cases and they are in no hurry to have yours end. This is not a slam against divorce attorneys, but rather a fact. You are just one more case out of dozens they are handling. They have no reason to stay on top of things and get your case finished a.s.a.p. God forbid if I ever have to hire a divorce attorney again, I will manage that person, meaning I will check in and say “Where are we with this…” The bottom line-get the process rolling faster.
- Avoid arguing and saying hurtful things to your soon-to-be ex. It will just make that person angrier and delay the divorce process even more.
- Do not show off your new girlfriend/boyfriend. You have no idea how much this delays a divorce. Why? Because the ex gets so upset that the other person has “moved on” with someone else, that without realizing it, they want to make their ex’s life much more difficult. I have seen cases where the divorce was almost final, and one person found out the other had a new significant other and rescinded all they agreed on.
- Treat your divorce like a business deal. It’s business at this point, not personal anymore. The reasons you got divorced were personal. Now that it’s happening, just try to walk away with everything that works for you.
- Don’t talk about the divorce with your soon-to-be ex too much. This is tricky, because there are times when you and your ex might be able to make agreements on certain things, which would expedite the divorce. But, sometimes it’s better not to talk at all. Every case is different.
- Take pettiness out of it. If she/he really wants the big screen TV, don’t spend weeks delaying the divorce over it. Give in to things that really won’t make a difference in your life and focus on the biggies—the issues that you really, really want.
I do want to say this. Although it’s great to have your divorce final, there are two things to keep in mind. First, don’t rush the divorce just to have it over with. If you do that, you could be making mistakes and signing papers for things you really don’t feel comfortable with. And secondly, always keep your children’s best interest at heart when making decisions in a divorce. Ask yourself, “What is best for them?” with every decision you are contemplating. And lastly, if there ever comes a time when you don’t feel comfortable with your divorce attorney, no one said you have to stick with him or her. You have the freedom to change attorneys at any time.
In closing, the thing about divorce is that when it’s finally over, it’s kind of like walking out of a car dealership with a new car. You kind of walk away wondering if you got a good deal. The thing that will bring you peace is if you know in your heart, you feel good about every decision that was made for your kids. If you do, trust me, you got a good deal.