One of the most common misunderstandings about the New Jersey divorce process is it is just a matter of telling the judge what you want and showing up for a few hearings. In reality, a contested divorce can stretch on for well over a year. A number of factors can influence how long a divorce takes, including:
- Whether the spouses can agree on anything
- The specific issues they disagree on
- The need for any parenting evaluations or assessments
- How cooperative each spouse is being with filing paperwork and producing evidence
When uncooperative spouses drag their feet just to make their spouse’s lives more difficult, a divorce can easily take too long. The good news is there are strategies you can employ to tie up loose ends and complete your divorce on an expedited timeline. To help you do that, here are five tips for wrapping up your divorce.
Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution
Your spouse may be more amenable to mediation after spending so much time and money on litigation. With competent legal guidance and a mediator you mesh with, you can potentially knock out all the issues in your divorce in a manner of a few sessions. Some couples have been able to reach settlement agreements in just one day of mediation. Talk to your attorney about mediation and how it works. Generally speaking, it’s helpful for spouses who can’t agree but are motivated to save time and money wrapping up their divorce.
Even if your spouse doesn’t want to mediate, you can have your attorney attempt to finalize your divorce by negotiating with your spouse’s attorney. Figure out what is a “must have” and what you are willing to compromise on. Then, let your attorney play some hardball. Just have your attorney make it clear that if your spouse can’t participate in fruitful negotiations, the matter will have to stay in court for a judge to decide. Also, consider mediating single issues, such as child custody, while letting the judge resolve the remaining issues. Divorce cases are not all or nothing; you can reach agreements on your own but disagree on other things.
Be Realistic About Money
Divorcing spouses have been known to deplete all their savings in divorce litigation. They eventually regret it. Take a good hard look at your finances, what you’ve spent on the divorce thus far, and what you’d need to spend to go to trial. Can you afford to keep fighting or are you digging yourselves a financial grave? Use the cost of the divorce as a bargaining chip if nothing else has worked.
Consider the Collaborative Divorce Approach
Some spouses eschew mediation because they think their spouse will talk circles around them and take advantage of them. Collaborative divorce is a way to attempt negotiations to settle your divorce without letting your case languish in court. Talk to your attorney about how it works and what kind of team you need to compile to be successful. Your spouse will have to get on board, too. This is a sleeves-rolled-up approach that involves a professional team of, typically, attorneys, financial advisors, and parenting coordinators. When backed with a high-impact team, negotiations can move more quickly.
Be a Proactive Party to Your Divorce
If your spouse is refusing to cooperate, there might not be much you—or your attorney—can do to speed up the process. Continue to attempt negotiations, but if your divorce is heading to trial, make sure you are staying on top of deadlines and completing what tasks your attorney gives you as soon as you can. The quicker your attorney knocks out those pre-trial steps, the sooner you can find peace of mind knowing its only a matter of time. In the same light, make sure your wishes and intentions are apparent to both your attorney and the judge. Provide as much information as possible that can help the court come to the right resolution. This will reduce the chance you need to return to court after your divorce judgment is entered.
Do you need help fighting for your rights in your divorce? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled divorce attorneys can help you prepare for the journey ahead by getting you the outcome you deserve. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 738-8366, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.