Monday, January 3, 2022

Getting Started in a New Year

Deciding to Wait

You may be one of the many people who want to get divorced near the end of the year, but you just don't want to mess up the holidays. A common solution is to put your thoughts and concerns aside until January. Then you are ready and anxious to file for the divorce.

What should you expect?

 1. A slow process.  Even though you have now had plenty of time to plan what, when and how you want to do, you will run into the court system. You can count on it being slow. There's a 60-day waiting period built into the system. And now, the courts move even slower than before. There's a huge backlog in most courts because the courts were shut down for a while and then started up slowly.  It often takes a long time to get into court for a contested hearing.

What can you do about it?

2. Come to agreements.  It's easy for me to say, but that's your best answer.  Mediation is required for almost any case nowadays. As a mediator, I'm a little biased for it, but it works.  

Without the formality of mediation, motivated people can work out final agreements by informal settlement conferences, attorney negotiations or just the parties talking directly (and respectfully!). Settlement conferences can happen at the courthouse or at one of the attorneys' offices. Attorneys talk all the time and with cooperative clients can come to agreements.  You and your spouse talking without the attorneys present is a little trickier -- you both have to be on your best behavior.

Despite the difficulties, people do come to agreements.  It may take while, but it will still be quicker than going to court.

3. The best way to reach agreement?  You can do a lot of research and hope you figure out the right answers. Or, you can hire an attorney and follow the attorney's advice. Every case is different, no matter what your friends, relatives or others tell you. You need to work with an experienced attorney who can help you choose the best possible outcomes and the strategies to reach them.  Going to court is just not the best answer.  Talk to your attorney!

Before you jump into the divorce process, it's best to hire an attorney to help you. Good luck!