Fast Track Your Divorce: 14 Ways to Help Your Divorce Move More Quickly

A divorce normally takes at least several months minimum and may drag on years (case in point: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been in divorce court since 2016 and their divorce is still not completed). Once you decide to get a divorce, you may feel an urgency to get the process over with so that you can move forward with your life and put this chapter behind you.

A quick divorce is generally unlikely for high net worth couples because there are simply so many assets that must be accounted for and divided. However, there are some steps you can take which may help move your divorce more quickly.

  1. Be prepared. Before you meet with an attorney or do anything, gather as much information as you can about your assets and debts. Get it organized in a logical way so that your attorney and their staff can easily navigate it. Any legwork you and your own staff can do will reduce the time necessary for your attorney to prepare your case.
  2. Talk to your spouse. If at all possible, talk with your spouse and try to come to agreements about as many things as possible. For example, you may be able to work out how your parenting plan should be set up, or you may be able to reach an agreement about who will take which piece of real estate. Any agreements you can negotiate yourselves will save time in the divorce process.
  3. Be flexible. The more rigid you are about what you absolutely must get in the divorce, the more likely it is the process will take a long time. A fast divorce is contingent on compromise. It can help to make lists of your must-haves, things you want, and things you are willing to give up. This sets the stage for compromise and opens the negotiations in a reasonable way.
  4. Try to keep emotions separate. Divorce is a financial process, but it is also an emotional process. The best way to navigate the divorce process is to keep those two things separate. Make financial decisions as rationally as possible, separating out your emotions and dealing with them separately. A therapist can be very helpful in working through the challenging emotional hurdles divorce holds.
  5. Be truthful. Dishonesty extends the divorce process, resulting in depositions, lengthy discovery, and ongoing hearings and motions in the courtroom. It is very difficult to hide things from the court and the opposing counsel. Dishonesty is almost always revealed and not only extends the time your case will take but also damages your position in the eyes of the court.
  6. Get a divorce, not a separation. If you enter into a separation agreement or seek a legal separation, this adds another step to the process and another layer of negotiations. In many states, there is a waiting period after you create a separation agreement before it can be converted to a divorce. Focusing only on the divorce will reduce the total timeframe involved in ending your marriage.
  7. Hire a private judge. A private judge can be hired to arbitrate your case. You can have a trial with all the evidence, but it can be scheduled very quickly and is not dependent on the busy courthouse schedule. The private judge (usually a retired judge or a well-respected attorney) will be exclusively available to hear your case, allowing the case to be heard in a compact and speedy manner. The judge’s decision is final and binding and becomes your divorce decree.
  8. Respond quickly. When your legal team asks you for information or to make decisions, respond quickly. Any delay on your part feeds into a lengthening of the timeline for your case. Also, when your attorney is engaged with you, things will get done. If you wait several days to respond, they may be embroiled in another case and not available to consider the information or responses you have provided.
  9. Divide household items and personal property yourselves. If you get your attorneys and the court involved in negotiating or arguing over each piece of furniture, jewelry, china, and so on, you will find yourself tied up in court for years. Instead, divide as much of this with your spouse as you can.
  10. Accept that you will have to co-parent your child. Custody can be one of the most contentious parts of a divorce trial. Some parents stake out unrealistic positions seeking to keep the other parent from spending time with the child or from being involved in decision-making. In most cases, courts order joint custody with shared decision-making and shared time. If you can go into the divorce process realizing that you will be parenting together and committed to making it go as smoothly as possible, you will find your case can move along much more quickly.
  11. Take your attorney’s advice. Your attorney has a very clear sense of what you can win, what you will lose, and how best to reach a compromise. Listen to them and heed their advice. You’ve hired exceptional counsel to guide you through the process. Rely on their years of experience and do what they suggest.
  12. Avoid your spouse. If you and your spouse are a high-conflict couple, stop engaging in the conflict. Step away. Don’t engage in the drama. Let your attorneys handle everything. The more you and your spouse argue and take retaliatory action against each other, the longer the case will take. De-escalation will shorten your divorce timeline.
  13. Follow court orders. If the court issues temporary orders in your case, obey them. Violating a court order will result in more court appearances and a delayed resolution for your case. Compliance will keep you on track.
  14. Work on with experienced divorce attorneys. High net worth divorces are a complex area of specialty due to their high conflict nature. It is essential that you only work with an attorney who has experience with this type of divorce and has the knowledge, staff, and resources to handle yours. Check out our other blog post about 10 strategic things to do before filing for divorce in New York.


Naomi Schanfield

Naomi Schanfield concentrates on all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, equitable distribution, child custody and visitation, support matters, family offense disputes, and domestic violence.

To connect with Naomi: 212.682.6222 | Online

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