The end of a marriage can be a traumatic experience for the individuals involved as well as their families – including their kids and parents. When a relationship reaches a point where it is impossible to revive it, then divorce may be the only solution. Apart from the emotional anguish, a host of other practical matters – such as the division of assets, child support and custody, and spousal support – take a toll on the divorcing couple. Getting divorced as quickly as possible – while ensuring a fair and workable settlement – will increase peace of mind and reduce stress on you and your family.
How to Get Divorced as Quickly as Possible
Tip 1. Keep the Lines of Communication Open!
Your marriage has not panned out as you expected it to and now one or both of you has made a decision to go separate ways. Try not to let the breakdown of your marriage result in a breakdown of communication, too. If the divorce was one spouse’s decision, the other is bound to be feeling some shock, grief, and anger, so give them some time to recover from the initial blow. Many couples stop talking at this point, and the decisions made in a highly-emotional state come to haunt them later in court. No matter how unbearable it may seem, don’t make the mistake of not talking; get those lines of communication up and working as quickly as possible. If necessary, see a therapist to work through the worst of your anger and heartbreak to enable you to have fairly calm, productive discussions with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Discuss how you want to move ahead with the process of separation, and what each of you is hoping for. Reaching agreement on some major points will help to move the process forward, saving your time and money. Once you have reached some sort consensus on the crucial points, talk to a lawyer about your rights and obligations, and get their opinion about your working settlement agreement.
Tip 2. Consider Divorce Mediation
An alternative to divorce litigation, mediation involves a neutral third party who helps you to negotiate with your ex may well save you from a long, drawn-out, messy battle in court. A mediator is a trained professional who may or may not be a lawyer and can bring both the sides to the table and help them to reach agreement on contentious issues like child custody and support. Some mediators will bring in other specialists as needed, like mental-health experts and financial consultants, who assist the estranged couple to make decisions in their family’s best interests. Your mediator cannot give you legal advice, so each of you should retain independent legal counsel to ensure that you understand the agreement and to protect your interests. In mediation, the decisions are arrived at by stakeholder negotiation rather than being imposed by the court judgment. If there are still a few issues where you have not reached an agreement, you can litigate only those outstanding issues and retain the agreements you made in mediation – which will help in getting divorced as quickly as possible.
Tip 3. Put Everything in Writing
The proceedings might not be acrimonious and you may be getting along relatively well with your spouse, but even then, document all agreements – preferably in the presence of a lawyer. If you have reached an agreement regarding contentious issues like child custody and division of assets, put it in writing! A written agreement makes it hard for anyone to go back on their word, which is essential to getting divorced as quickly as possible. Creating an inventory of and assigning a value to all your marital assets and debts is a must to ensure that property division is fair. You will also need to collect important documents like your marriage certificate, prenuptial or premarital agreement, your children’s birth certificates, house purchase and mortgage (if applicable), joint bank accounts and portfolios, cars, etc. Having your paperwork organized and recording all the relevant agreements will save time and money in arriving at a consensus on most of the disputed items.
Tip 4. Honesty is The Best Policy
The key to getting divorced as quickly as possible lies in your ability to be transparent, open, and straight in communication with your ex-spouse and your lawyer. Share all pertinent information with your spouse and your lawyer as withholding or attempting to hide it can be detrimental to your case. Complete financial disclosure of all marital assets and debts as well as both spouse’s income and expenses will enable your legal counsel to devise a sound strategy for safeguarding your interests. A complete severance of ties is impossible if children are involved and therefore it becomes all the more significant to observe this policy as not doing so may harm your custody or visitation rights.
Tip 5. Don’t Forget The Children
Kids can suffer real emotional and psychological damage from a high-conflict divorce – including being put in the impossible position of having to choose between their parents. You may have noticed that children have been mentioned in every one of these five tips, underlining the importance of keeping their best interests and wellbeing at the forefront of every discussion. While still sharing the same home, never argue in front of your kids or make them feel guilty for loving their other parent. Any child-related agreements you make should be for their best interests instead of your selfish reasons. A hurtful remark aimed at your partner may well leave an indelible impression on your children for the rest of their lives. Even if the other parent gets primary physical custody, that does not have to signify the end of your relationship with your children – unless you have a history of addiction, bad behavior, or neglect. Investing in a therapist for them as well as yourselves will help them survive your divorce.
Getting Divorced as Quickly as Possible: Don’t Rush the Big Decisions
Terminating a marital alliance is usually accompanied by emotional and mental stress for the couple involved. If they invest time and resources in understanding all facets of the matter before seeking professional advice, it will definitely help in getting divorced as quickly as possible. However, being impatient or rushing will be detrimental to your position and could cause costly mistakes. Remember the old saying, “More haste, less speed,” so really think about every important point and move ahead only when you’re convinced that you can live with the terms of the settlement.
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