Facing a divorce can be one of the most emotionally challenging experiences you ever encounter. No matter how you reached this point, your divorce will undoubtedly affect your life in several ways, and it’s natural to want to make the process as quick and painless as possible. Unfortunately, every divorce is unique, and there is no single solution for streamlining your proceedings. In addition, every divorce entails different variables, and it can be challenging to determine the best approach to complex proceedings. However, a few things are universally helpful for all divorce cases, some of which can enable you to trim the time, stress, and expense your divorce will require of you.
Collaborate With Your Spouse Before Filing for Divorce
The divorce process formally begins when you or your spouse file a divorce petition with the Bloomington, IL, family court, but the process starts once one or both of you have decided to end your marriage. Before taking any formal steps toward starting your divorce proceedings, it is worth sitting down with each other to discuss your concerns and expectations as far as your divorce resolution is concerned. You cannot reach any firm agreements at this point, and there is no guarantee that you and your spouse can reach mutually agreeable divorce terms that will take effect through your formal divorce proceedings. However, these early conversations can still be valuable by allowing the two of you to identify your most significant areas of contention.
Early informal negotiations with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can allow the two of you to essentially draft the framework of your divorce agreement. Once you both understand where each other stands on the issues, it will be easy to approach these topics during your divorce proceedings. If you and your spouse fight constantly or find it unbearable to have these discussions, you can at least make your concerns and expectations clear to one another in a civil manner before filing your divorce petition.
Explore Alternatives to Litigation
When many people imagine divorce, they think of heated court battles and lengthy formalities, but the reality is that it is possible to minimize the time you spend in divorce litigation. Some issues, such as child custody and child support, demand formal legal review in a litigation process, but it’s possible to settle many divorce-related issues outside of court through alternative dispute resolution.
The most popular form of alternative dispute resolution in the United States is divorce mediation. This process is straightforward, easy to understand, and typically requires a fraction of the time that divorce litigation demands. The only requirement is that you and your spouse must both be willing to try it. If one of you demands a divorce trial, mediation simply is not an option for handling your divorce.
During mediation, you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys will meet with a neutral mediator to settle the terms of your divorce. Mediation sessions will occur in a comfortable, low-pressure atmosphere that most will find significantly more agreeable than a courtroom. Mediation usually consists of collaborative sessions with both spouses and the mediator and one-on-one sessions for each spouse and the mediator. The goal of mediation is to reach mutually agreeable terms for as many aspects of the divorce as possible. The mediator will guide discussions and keep the conversation focused as the couple negotiates their divorce terms. Once the couple reaches mutually acceptable terms, the mediator assists the divorcing couple in drafting their divorce resolution.
Divorce litigation is often unavoidable to some extent. This is especially true when divorcing spouses have children. The Bloomington, IL, family court must ensure their divorce terms suit the best interests of their children, and a family court judge must approve their parenting plan, custody terms, and child support agreement before they take legal effect. However, if you and your spouse pursue alternative dispute resolution, you may be able to minimize litigation dramatically, and the two of you may only need to attend a final hearing before a judge who formalizes your divorce and issues your divorce decree.
The best way to streamline divorce litigation is by taking full advantage of alternative dispute resolution. For example, you and your spouse can collaborate privately, develop the framework of your preferred divorce terms, and then present them to your respective attorneys and a mediator to make the mediation process faster. Your courtroom experience will be dramatically shorter and easier to manage by completing as much as possible before litigation.
Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney
One of the most important things you should do to ensure a swift and seamless divorce process is hiring an experienced and reliable attorney to represent you. Do not make the mistake of believing you can handle self-representation in divorce, even if you and your spouse reached a mutual decision to end your marriage and you believe that your divorce is relatively straightforward. An experienced Bloomington, IL, divorce lawyer is an invaluable asset in any divorce case. They can assist you with your procedural obligations, help you manage unforeseen issues as they arise during your proceedings, and prepare you for all courtroom appearances.
An experienced attorney can also provide additional services you may not have initially considered, such as arranging expert witness testimony to support you if your case involves highly complex or technical issues. For example, if you believe your spouse is hiding assets, your Bloomington, IL, divorce lawyer can arrange for a forensic accountant to perform a deep dive on both of your financial records to ensure you reach a fair and reasonable outcome in your divorce case.
Ultimately, divorce is a difficult experience for everyone who goes through it, but there are several ways you and your spouse can potentially make the process easier for both of you. First, take time to consider your options, and reach out to an experienced Bloomington, IL, divorce attorney as soon as possible once you have decided to end your marriage. The sooner you secure legal counsel, the easier it will be to prepare for your divorce proceedings, no matter how difficult and multifaceted they may be.