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Not all divorces need to drag out for years. If no one is at fault and you and your spouse can agree on every aspect of your divorce settlement, you may be able to push your divorce along.
Here are the steps to get a fast divorce and a few things to watch out for that may slow the process down.
Yes, it is possible to get a quick divorce. Not every divorce takes months or years to finalize. You can expedite the process if it’s a no-fault divorce — meaning neither spouse did anything wrong, and if it’s uncontested — or you both can agree on custody, alimony and how to divide property and debt.
You’ll also need to fulfill any state waiting periods, such as a state residency minimum or a mandatory separation period.
Follow these steps to fast-track the divorce process:
It’s a good idea to separate, even if you have a no-fault divorce. Some states require couples to live apart for months — or even years — before you can file for divorce. Check your state’s divorce laws to see if this separation period applies to you.
You and your spouse need to agree to four main issues: division of property, debt, alimony and child custody. For example, you’ll need to decide who gets anything of value, such as retirement accounts, as well as how to divide your shared debt. You should also discuss who may be paying spousal and child support as well as visitation details.
Once you’ve satisfied all the state’s legal requirements to get a divorce, go ahead and file for a no-fault, uncontested divorce — you have the option to do this online. The process for at-fault divorces is longer because you need to prove wrongdoing, such as adultery, abandonment or abuse.
Draft the settlement agreement for your uncontested divorce, which you will then sign and present to a judge to finalize the divorce. Many people use a family lawyer to help draw up or simply review the agreement.
Even if you and your spouse can agree to everything in the divorce settlement, it might be a good idea to hire an attorney to review the settlement agreement.
One attorney cannot represent you and your spouse. An attorney working in your best interest can make sure that the agreement is fair to you and spot any mistakes that could delay the divorce process in the court system.
Here are a few more tips to help accelerate the process:
Variables that can stall or delay a divorce include:
A divorce with one contested issue took an average of 18 months, according to a Nolo nationwide survey. It’ll likely take longer if you have more unresolved issues or need to go to trial.
Uncontested, no-fault divorces generally take the least amount of time to process. Be sure to check your state’s divorce requirements that may require waiting periods before you can finalize your divorce.
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