How to Streamline Your Divorce Proceedings in California
Divorce is a challenging experience for many reasons. The process requires a significant financial investment in the form of legal fees and the transition from a dual-income household to living on a single income. California also enforces a minimum six-month waiting period before any divorce is granted, but many divorcing couples with complex divorces find that this is relatively short compared to the actual time required to litigate their divorce cases. Even the most seemingly straightforward divorce cases can require enormous investments of time, money, and energy for everyone involved.
If you are expecting to divorce in the near future and want to make the process easier, there are a few tips you should keep in mind that can potentially help you streamline your proceedings. Remember that even a seemingly straightforward divorce case can involve unpredictable issues that extend the time required to complete the process, but the following tips can often help divorcing couples reach results in their divorce cases more quickly.
Gather Evidence, Documentation, and Financial Records
Divorce in California requires the equal division of all marital assets. When you divorce, you must provide a complete accounting of your separate personal property and your marital property. The court determines each divorcing spouse’s separate property before assessing the total amount of their shared marital property and dividing it equally. Financial disclosure is an essential facet of the divorce process; you must ensure the financial records you produce are complete and accurate.
If you want to make your divorce move along more quickly, consult your attorney to determine what records you need to provide and start gathering them as soon as possible. If necessary, your attorney may consult with expert witnesses like financial advisors or even forensic accountants to help you ensure your financial disclosure meets all legal requirements and provides the court with accurate information. This is a complicated process, so the sooner you begin working on it, the more your efforts will streamline your divorce.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
Many divorcing couples throughout the US are choosing mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution instead of standard divorce litigation. Mediation, in particular, offers several valuable benefits, not least of which being time saved on the divorce process overall. During mediation, you and your spouse meet with your respective attorneys and a mediator who will help you draft your divorce order. Mediation requires item-by-item negotiations for every aspect of your divorce.
The mediation process can dramatically cut the time and money required to complete your divorce. Even if you and your spouse cannot negotiate every single issue your divorce entails, the time spent in mediation allows you to negotiate what you can before moving to litigation to settle the rest. In an ideal situation, you and your spouse can successfully negotiate the terms of your divorce in mediation and only need to submit your negotiated divorce agreement to the court for a final review and approval. Ultimately, if you want to save time and money on your divorce, avoiding litigation as much as possible is one of the best possible methods for accomplishing this.
Consider a Preliminary Legal Separation
Legal separation is a very similar process to divorce, and in most cases, serves as a precursor to formal divorce proceedings. A legal separation is relatively simple to configure and can serve as a cooling-off period before a couple starts the divorce process. If you take time to initiate a legal separation and eventually decide to translate this into a divorce, this will significantly reduce the overall time required for the divorce to be finalized.
Remember You Can Change Your Divorce Order Later
It is unrealistic to assume that your divorce proceedings will yield the exact results you expect to see. Divorce requires compromise on many levels, and you may find some elements of your divorce order disagreeable. However, this does not mean you need to extend your divorce proceedings by fighting these issues.
Family law offers a simple modification process that allows you to petition for changes to your family court order in the future. For example, if you believe your child support arrangement is unfair, instead of continuing to fight the court’s ruling and incurring more legal fees, you and your attorney can file a petition to modify your child support terms after the fact. As long as you can prove that your requested change is reasonable and backed by solid evidence, you should have minimal trouble changing a family court order through modification.
Invest in the Right Legal Counsel
While it’s technically possible to navigate a divorce case on your own, doing so will inherently put you at a legal disadvantage, especially if your spouse has an attorney. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is perhaps the most important thing you can do to streamline your divorce. While you will need to pay legal fees, the potential cost of foregoing legal counsel will likely offset the financial impact of your attorney’s fees.
An experienced divorce attorney can remove much of the stress from your divorce process. They can provide you with timely updates about your case, coordinate expert witness testimony to support you if necessary, and help you determine the best approach to your divorce case.
Find Legal Representation Today
Take time to research local divorce attorneys and choose one with a solid track record of successful divorce cases. Do not rush your decision to hire a lawyer, but don’t take too long, either. The sooner you hire an attorney to start working on your divorce, the faster the process will unfold.
The attorneys at Bickford, Blado & Botros have years of experience assisting clients through all types of divorce cases. We understand that every divorce case is unique. We take the time to provide individualized legal counsel to every client we represent. If you are concerned about the potential cost of your divorce or the time required to complete it, we can help you approach the situation with greater confidence. No matter what your divorce entails, we will help you reach satisfactory results as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact us today for more information about the legal services we provide and to schedule your consultation with our team.
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