Obtaining a divorce can take as quickly as a few months and as long as a few years. If you’re worried about the amount of time and money you’re going to spend on your divorce, there are various factors that you should consider.
Choosing a divorce process:
There are many ways to obtain a divorce. If you and your spouse choose to litigate, you’ll likely each hire your own attorneys. You’ll rely not only on your schedules to appear in court, but also those of your attorneys and that of the court’s. However, if you choose mediation, you’ll both sit down with one attorney to try and settle your case.
If you choose a collaborative divorce, the divorcing parties commit in writing to engage in voluntary, confidential, and non-adversarial, with the goal of reaching an agreement. Depending on which method you choose will determine the costs and length of your divorce process.
Choosing an attorney:
The next step to filing for a divorce is to choose an attorney. If you want to obtain a divorce pro se (meaning, without an attorney), you’ll need to file with the court. Typically, jurisdiction arises when you file where you and your spouse lived when the cause of action arose.
If you opt for an attorney, you’ll want to do some research. Talk to your friends, family members, and search online. Do you want an attorney who has a win-at-all costs mentality? Do you want to spend years battling in a courtroom? Do you want an attorney who is more mediation focused? Depending on the route you wish to pursue will help you narrow down your attorney search.
Next, determine about how much you want to spend. You may want to figure out this step before you choose an attorney, unless you know that you time is not of the essence, and that you won’t mind spending a ton of time in court. However, if you want to make the most of your time and money, you’ll likely choose mediation or the collaborative divorce process.
By choosing mediation or the collaborative method, you’ll likely spend significantly less time and money in court. You and your spouse meet with your respective attorneys (the collaborative process) or with one attorney (mediation). During these meetings, the goal is to come up with an agreement. You may be thinking, “The reason my spouse and I are getting a divorce is because we can’t agree.” However, you’d be surprised at how quickly you and your spouse can come to an agreement when both of your future finances and well-beings are on the line.
New Jersey courts mandates that no divorce should take longer than 12 months from the date the Complaint for Divorce is first filed at the clerk’s office. However, due to Court backlog this is not necessarily accurate. Complex cases usually take longer, but many cases in New Jersey can be completed in under a year.
However, if you and your spouse choose mediation or the collaborative process, you can cut the time it takes to obtain a divorce in half. Because you work around your schedules’ instead of the court’s, you choose how long it takes to get a divorce. If you and your spouse can agree in one or two meetings, you can obtain a divorce in just under three to four months. If you litigate, you will likely spend a significantly longer time trying to obtain a divorce.
Speak with an attorney before choosing a divorce method. You may think that litigation is your only option. However, you may be surprised to discover that you and your spouse can save time and money and save your children by opting for the collaborative method or mediation. Speaking with an attorney can help to narrow your goals, and thus, determine the best method for your divorce.