During the last few months of 2011, our family law firm was inundated with new clients who were anxious to have their divorces finalized before the end of the year. Whether these clients wanted to be able to file their 2011 federal income tax return as single or whether they just wanted to start the New Year off as single is unknown, but they were definitely in a hurry. Of course, finalizing a divorce in such a short time requires that both parties be in complete agreement about the resolution of the issues in their case, including issues related to children and division of property and debts. Fortunately, most of them were. If the parties are in complete agreement and fully cooperate, the divorce can be filed as uncontested and finalized in a month or so.
Even in cases where the parties are not in complete agreement, our clients frequently want to have their divorce finalized as quickly as possible. However, it can take time to work out the financial and emotional entanglements resulting from a marriage. It is important to remember that these entanglements have taken time to develop, in some cases 20 years or more. It is sometimes unreasonable to expect that these issues can be sorted out in as little as a month. Sometimes giving one or both parties some additional time will help them come to grips with the new reality. Allowing them to approach things more logically and reach a more reasonable resolution.
This is one of the advantages of the Collaborative Divorce process. Parties in the Collaborative Divorce process have the assistance of a financial expert to help them sort out their finances and a mental health expert to help them deal with the emotions. The process progresses at a rate that is tailored to the parties, making sure each of them have time to process the transition. Whether you participate in a Collaborative Divorce or not, getting your divorce finalized as quickly as possible may not result in the best resolution. I am not suggesting that it should take years, but giving it a few extra months can help.