This is a question that I am often asked—and for good reason. The divorce process can be emotionally and economically draining. Simply put, no one wants to litigate for longer than he/she needs to. Many people that I talk to believe that there is no real answer to this question, i.e. divorce always has to be a long and painful process—like a rite of passage.
However, there is an answer to this question and it is actually a simple one. The length of the divorce litigation/process is directly correlated to how amicable you are with your spouse. I get it—you are going through a divorce and it is difficult to be amicable! So difficult! But, this is the secret to a “quickie” divorce. If you are able, sit down at the kitchen table with your spouse and be prepared to exchange a list of your assets and a list of your liabilities. Then, add up your assets and see if you can divide them in a way that makes you both happy/unhappy. Every judge and attorney will tell you that the best result is one that makes both parties equally unhappy, i.e. it must be fair. Next, do the same for your liabilities—and see what liabilities can be satisfied by using some of your assets, if possible.
In a separate meeting, discuss your children. Do not approach the second meeting by saying “I’m the better parent,” but instead have a calendar with a parenting time schedule that you think will work for you, your spouse and most important for your children. I find that when parents work on a calendar together—instead of obsessing over labels, such as sole custody, full custody, joint custody, etc. that they are effectively addressing the actual needs of their children.
If you are able to resolve the division of assets/liabilities and create a parenting plan for your children, then you have effectively resolved most, if not all of the issues in your case. If you contact the Court and let them know that you and your spouse are settled, they will very quickly provide you with a date to come in for your Uncontested Hearing (“divorce date.”) See, it can be that quick!
Shari B. Veisblatt represents clients in all aspects and stages of matrimonial litigation, including divorce and separation, custody, child and spousal support, equitable distribution and alimony and domestic abuse. She works out of the firm’s Cherry Hill, NJ office and can be reached at 856-857-1431 or atShari.Veisblatt@obermayer.com.