Did you know that the average divorce takes between 12 to 18 months? If your divorce has gone on longer than 18 months, then you might be wondering how you got this far. Our divorce attorneys at Testa & Pagnanelli, LLC compiled the five top reasons we see extended divorce proceedings and solutions so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Not Knowing Exactly What You Want When Making Agreements
When you and your spouse meet to create divorce agreements, you should already have a plan on what are your top priorities and your non-negotiables. If you arrive without a concrete idea of what you want out of your divorce, it can prolong your negotiations and, ultimately, the finalization of your divorce.
To ensure that you do know what you want when you begin to form agreements, take some time to think about what you feel is most important to you. When brainstorming, make sure to consider:
- Any property that you feel is personally valuable or has sentimental value
- If you have children, how you would like to approach child custody and support
- If you wish to seek spousal support
- Any pets, which are often included in the division of property
- If you have more than one home, how you would like to separate each property
- Any debts or financial obligations
With these six items, you can create a full picture of what you feel is valuable in your divorce and ultimately know your goals.
A common mistake people make when getting divorced is representing themself. While you may think it will save you money in an already costly time, representing yourself may bring up unforeseen issues. Since you may not be an attorney yourself, you will be unfamiliar with the legal process of a divorce and the forms you may need to file. In addition to the time you will take negotiating an agreement and filing the necessary paperwork, you will also need to take the time to educate yourself on what you need to do to legally obtain a divorce.
The easiest fix here is not to go to law school and pass the bar but to hire an experienced divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure that your divorce follows all legal requirements without you having to do it yourself. The money spent on a divorce lawyer is time, effort, and pain saved in the future as you finalize your divorce.
Not Listening to the Guidance of Your Lawyer
Your lawyer is an experienced individual who is skilled at family law and divorces. Your case is most likely not the first time your lawyer has represented a client going through a divorce, so with that experience comes guidance from your lawyer.
Even if your emotions about a contentious divorce or child custody matter may make you feel otherwise, you should listen to your lawyer. Your attorney will have most likely seen firsthand how that specific route has worked for past clients, and if they are advising you for a different approach, then they are doing it in good faith.
Changing Your Mind on Agreements Midway Through
It may be self-explanatory, but changing your mind on your agreements prolongs your divorce because you then need to take the time and create new agreements to take the place of the original ones.
The best way to prevent this is to have a concrete plan of your goals for your divorce when creating your agreements. When you negotiate with your spouse, compromise when appropriate but first make sure that you feel good about the compromise. If you do not feel comfortable about compromising, this will most likely become a recurring problem.
Going to Trial Over Issues Which Could Be Resolved Via Mediation
It’s a proven fact: litigation takes much more time than mediation. For litigation, you and your lawyer need to prepare a case for you, present the case in court, and wait for the judge’s ruling. Add in the additional waiting period of the time until your case can be heard, and you are wasting plenty of time if mediation is also an option. Litigation should be saved solely for an issue that both parties cannot agree on, even if they have tried mediation.
In mediation, both parties meet with a neutral mediator who is there to facilitate conversation and discussion about contested issues. Together, the three parties can create agreements that are satisfactory to both spouses in the divorce. Mediation is a space where both spouses can communicate their priorities and problem-solve together as they divide property, determine child custody and support, and work through other contested issues that they may be unable to resolve themselves.
Mediation may not be an option for every couple, especially those unable to communicate effectively and come to agreements together. However, if you are able to communicate with your spouse and compromise, mediation is a time-sensitive method of resolving issues in a divorce.
If you find that you are making any of these five mistakes, call our divorce attorneys at Testa & Pagnanelli, LLC at (610) 365-4733 today to schedule a case consultation. We can help you create a new plan for your divorce and expedite the process.