A seamless, fast divorce seems nice and easy in theory. However, depending on your relationship, a divorce can take anywhere from a few months to several years.
That said, a divorce doesn’t always take that long. If you want to do everything you can to speed up the process, then keep these 13 tips in mind:
- Prepare in advance.
- Figure out what you want.
- Understand recent tax changes.
- Know the latest divorce laws.
- Prepare together.
- Leverage legal consultations.
- Consider your options.
- Communicate and compromise.
- Get a lawyer to do the talking for you.
- Save up money.
- Prioritize meetings.
- Seek help from friends and family.
- Have realistic expectations and be patient.
Fast Divorce Tip #1: Prepare in Advance.
“Fail to prepare, and you’ll prepare to fail.” This military adage holds true in divorce proceedings, too.
The law is simply confusing, especially during a stressful situation like a divorce. That confusion adds time, as both you and your ex-spouse backtrack and reconvene to settle.
However, the more time you spend learning about local divorce laws and your own desires, the faster your divorce should be. And, the less confused everyone will be, too!
Fast Divorce Tip #2: Figure out what you want.
Make sure you know strategize on potential divorce roadblocks – such as property division and child custody arrangements – before official negotiations and paperwork.
For example, you and your partner should work together to decide on what you want for the house. Of course, who pays the mortgage is the million-dollar question. If the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is a stay-at-home-mom, generally, the courts will want to ensure the mother and children’s stability until the divorce is finalized. This includes paying for the mortgage if, the mortgage has been paid for by the husband for a considerable amount of time.
You may want to avoid the argument entirely and sell the house and split the profit. Make sure you talk through all the options just to ensure you know what is best.
Fast Divorce Tip #3: Understand recent tax changes.
Maybe this tip belongs on a different list. But, thinking about taxes goes hand-in-hand with preparing for divorce.
For example, if you earn more than your spouse, you may have to pay more since you could fall into a higher tax bracket after divorce and vice versa.
Potentially, you could even use your new tax status as leverage when negotiating child support and alimaliony.
Fast Divorce Tip #4: Know the latest divorce laws.
Usually, Maryland couples must separate for 12 months – one full calendar year – before filing and finalizing their divorce.
However, Maryland’s “Divorce by Mutual Consent” clause lets couples without minor children in common waive the 12-month separation period. Talk about speeding up your divorce!
Plus, as of October 2018, an updated version of the clause allows couples with mutual minor children to immediately file for divorce, too – if they have written and signed settlement agreements.
Finally, those filing a “divorce by mutual consent” only require one party to testify during hearings. With only one person’s schedule to worry about, a fast divorce is much more likely.
Fast Divorce Tip #5: Prepare together.
Evaluate whether you and your ex can prepare together before formally filing or going before a judge. If you can work together on accommodating what you both need, the divorce process will proceed much quicker.
Such cooperation doesn’t need an official judge or mediator. If the divorce is friendly, the kitchen table or a public coffee shop would work. Such mutual meetings should happen before you see a judge. That way, no time-consuming surprises or arguments occur in court.
All of that said, remember that you are only responsible for your own preparation. So, even if your ex doesn’t want to work together, make sure you read up on Maryland divorce laws. Prioritize your side of the situation!
Fast Divorce Tip #6: Leverage legal consultations.
Being prepared doesn’t have to mean you and your computer. Take advantage of free initial consultations offered by local lawyers or mediators. Whether it’s by phone or in-person, actually speaking with these professionals will give you a “gut check” feeling on working with them.
Your lawyer or mediator should understand your circumstances and (if a lawyer) fight for what you want. They should also answer any questions you may have throughout the process. The more you feel like your lawyer understands your case, the more relaxed you’ll be.
It may take a few times to find one that you feel comfortable representing you – and that’s okay. You want to be able to sleep at night knowing that your lawyer is taking care of your divorce, so you can focus on other parts of your life.
Of course, if you want to test drive the process with our Firm, you can always schedule a consultation with us!
>>READ MORE ABOUT DIVORCES IN MARYLAND<<
Fast Divorce Tip #7: Review types of divorces to consider your options.
Uncontested divorce and mediation are two of the fastest types of separation – if your ex-spouse agrees to it.
An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree on (most) divorce-related issues. Hence, the divorce can go faster because there’s less back-and-forth.
While uncontested divorces offer several benefits for participants, they are not suitable for everyone. Since the court is minimally involved, you need to be on good terms with your ex to negotiate a separation agreement that includes alimony, child support and custody, property, and anything else you care about.
During mediation, a neutral third-party acts as a sort of referee to settle legal disputes between parties. This type of divorce can involve lawyers or not, depending on what you want.
However, a mediator cannot offer legal advice, so it may be in your best interest to hire someone to represent you. Remember that mediation is a legally binding contract – it’s probably best to let a lawyer read it over before you sign anything.
Fast Divorce Tip #8: Communicate and compromise.
This tip is easier said than done, especially when you worked so hard to build a life with someone that is now ending. After all, there will be possessions to which you both feel entitled, and mixed accounts that need to be split “fairly” (whatever that means).
If you can, don’t get bogged down by the details. Consider the bigger picture of your life after divorce. Realistically think about what you can take with you or rebuild, and compromise from there.
As you reflect and make decisions, actively communicate your thoughts with your soon-to-be ex-partner. If the two of you can agree on things beforehand, it’ll make the divorce proceed smoothly and quickly.
In return, listen to what your ex tells you about their priorities. Make sure they are always up-to-date on where you are in the process; they should do the same.
The more you and your partner can figure out by yourselves, the less has to be dealt with in court.
Fast Divorce Tip #9: Get a lawyer to do the talking for you.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your ex-partner or they are unresponsive, make sure you find a lawyer that really understands your needs and what is important to you.
Part of a lawyer’s job is to make you comfortable and confident about how they’re handling the case. They can only do so if they have all the details and context, so make sure they know all of your concerns.
Lawyers can take the emotion out of the argument, rationalizing it for your ex, a mediator, or a judge if necessary. Letting a lawyer speak for you keeps things respectful and professional – both qualities of a fast divorce.
Fast Divorce Tip #10 Save up money.
Divorces can be expensive. If you think you are heading in that direction, start saving money now. After all, you can only proceed to the next step if you have the money to pay for it. Lacking funds will make the divorce run long.
Put your money toward a great lawyer who can shorten the overall divorce timeline. Even if their fee is higher than an average lawyer, paying fewer hours will ultimately save you money in the long run. Plus, great divorce lawyers can help you avoid costly mistakes that impact settlements or set back the process for months.
Fast Divorce Tip #11: Prioritize meetings.
Life can sometimes get in the way of court appointments or mediation. You may lose focus if the divorce proceedings go on because you keep rescheduling.
Remember: The longer you hold off or postpone these meetings, the longer it’ll take for the divorce to be finalized. And, the longer you’re spending getting divorced, the more money you’re spending – and the longer it is before you can resume your new normal.
Fast Divorce Tip #12: Seek help from friends and family.
Life was probably already stressful before the divorce. Adding divorce proceedings, no matter how amicable, will likely bring up lots of emotions and added stress. Having someone in your personal life to talk to, take care of any kids, or help out in any way you need will help you.
You’ll feel stronger mentally if you don’t feel like you’re going through your divorce alone. Your wellbeing is more important than making sure your divorce is as fast as possible. When you maintain a good headspace, the divorce process will be easier – and faster – for you.
Fast Divorce Tip #13: Have realistic expectations and be patient.
Walk into any negotiation expecting to feel slightly annoyed. As the saying goes, “Always surprised, never disappointed.”
In addition, expect the divorce process to take longer than you think. Patience will make the proceedings a lot smoother.
While rushing may work in the short term, you’ll probably have to revisit it in the future. The more you try to rush a divorce, the slower you’ll perceive it to go. Truthfully, half of a fast divorce is mental.
To get a fast divorce, you’ll need proper preparation, communication, and time management. Most importantly, however, try to relax. A good lawyer will reassure you throughout the process, and fight to get you the best outcome as quickly as possible.
Of course, if you need a divorce lawyer right now, contact us for a free first consultation. We’re here to help!