Wonder if there is a way to “fast track” your divorce? Many clients beginning their divorce proceedings want to know how long the process will take. The truth is, a lot of factors contributing to how long the divorce will take are up to the individual parties themselves. As a general rule, the more cooperative the spouses are with each other and the legal process, the faster their divorce may become finalized, and the less expensive the process will be. Of course, the opposite is also true! The less cooperative the parties are with one another and the legal process, the slower the divorce may become finalized, and the more expensive the process will be.
Follow These Tips to Fast Track Your Divorce
There are specific things you can do to try and ensure that your divorce is on the “fast track”. As a busy Chicago divorce attorney, I’ve found the following tips to most helpful when if you’re motivated to make progress and keep your divorce on the fast track.
1. Communicate with Your Attorney
This is perhaps one of the biggest issues divorce attorneys have when trying to push forward a divorce matter. It is imperative that you stay in quick and consistent communication with your attorney. Oftentimes attorneys will be backed up on other matters. When they reach out to you with information that requires a response, a timely response is key. Your failure to respond to an email or return a phone call in a timely manner could result in deadlines passing, court dates approaching and needing to be reset, and more. It is extremely important that you communicate timely and efficiently with your attorney.
2. Comply with Deadlines
If your attorney tells you they need documents by a certain day, or that the Judge expects an update on something by the next court date, do it as soon as possible. Pull the documents and send them back that same evening. Answer the email with the Judge’s question right away. This is always true, but even more so with document production. The failure to produce documents in a timely manner will cause delays. Yes, your attorneys really do need three full years of statements when they are requested by your spouse’s attorney (unless your attorney advises you to object to the production). Be sure to log in to your online bank portal, grab what you can and call the bank, and order the remainder, as soon as possible. Not producing these documents on time will cause many delays. Extremely long failures to provide request documents can result in sanctions, attorney’s fees, orders barring you from presenting evidence or testimony at a trial, and more. It is imperative to timely comply with these deadlines.
3. Always Tell the Truth
It is imperative that you tell your divorce attorney the truth, which includes not lying “by omission”. If your attorney is hearing something for the first time from your spouse’s attorney, in front of a judge, that is likely going to mean trouble for you, and possibly even a continuance to find out what happened. It is imperative to be open and honest with your attorney, even if something doesn’t shed you in a favorable light. Your attorney can always work with you if they know the truth about something, but lying to them and putting them in a position without knowledge, especially in court, can cause delays and can be problematic for your credibility in your case.
4. Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as Mediation.
Mediation is not always necessary in cases where the parties communicate well and the attorneys can work together well. However, if one spouse hesitates to work together or if one attorney is overly aggressive, exploring the possibility of divorce mediation is a good option. This removes the proceedings from the Judge and attorneys and the terms are negotiated instead through a neutral third party. This can cut down the expenses and help the parties come to an agreement quickly, without having to go through several months of discovery and a trial.
5. Treat Your Divorce as a “Business Transaction” and Remove the Emotion when it comes to Personal Property.
Now, not everything in a divorce case can be treated as a “business transaction”, clearly, especially with child-related issues. But, for purposes of financial issues and division of marital property, it is easy to get caught up in the sentimental value and to think “it’s the principle!” when it comes to dividing items in your household. This is a way to delay, delay, delay, and cause additional expense when it isn’t needed. Absent family heirlooms or irreplaceable items, divide your stuff and move forward! There is no need to pay attorneys hundreds of dollars per hour to fight over the bigger television set because, by the time you are finished, you could have bought a new one.
Also, don’t ask for items you know your spouse wants, just out of spite. They may really fight you for them — costing both of you more money than a lot of common items are worth. Treating it without emotion as a “business transaction” can help you shift into the right mindset when negotiating these terms and keep your divorce on the fast track to being final.