Divorce is likely to be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. It is also likely to be very expensive, depending on how you choose to handle the situation. It’s natural to want to streamline things as much as possible, and fortunately, there are several options available that allow you to do just that. If you and your spouse are ready to end your marriage in St. Charles, MO, it’s vital to know your options for handling the process and what you can expect from your attorney.
How Long Does Divorce Usually Take?
When a divorcing couple takes their case to court, litigation can last for months or years. If you are concerned about the time required for divorce in Missouri, it’s essential to work with an experienced attorney, so you can approach this situation with greater understanding. If you or your spouse is unwilling to explore any form of alternative dispute resolution and wishes to proceed directly to court, your divorce could take several months to longer than a year to finalize. By comparison, taking full advantage of divorce mediation can allow the two of you to finalize your divorce in a fraction of this time.
Aim for Alternative Dispute Resolution
One of the most important things you must consider if you want to streamline your divorce in St. Charles, MO, is whether you and your spouse can mediate your divorce. Divorce mediation is a straightforward process that allows both of you to avoid much of the stress and expense of the courtroom. Instead of litigating each aspect of your divorce in the courtroom, the two of you will meet with a neutral mediator in a low-pressure environment to privately negotiate terms.
Mediation is generally much easier to handle than courtroom proceedings, and a divorcing couple can potentially have a divorce agreement drafted in a fraction of the time typically required for litigation. Even if a couple cannot settle every issue related to their divorce in mediation, they can still cut the time they must spend in litigation by settling what they can in mediation before moving to litigation to handle the rest of their divorce case.
Choosing the right mediator will significantly streamline your divorce process. First, you and your spouse must agree on a mediator, and your respective attorneys can help you select the right mediator for your case. Then, your mediation process will entail collaborative sessions with you, your spouse, your respective attorneys, and your chosen mediator, and the mediator will also schedule one-on-one sessions with each of you until you have the most complete divorce agreement possible.
Collaborate as Much as Possible With Your Spouse
Suppose you and your spouse have reached a mutual decision to end your marriage. In that case, it’s worth sitting down with each other and developing the framework of your agreement privately before taking any formal steps toward divorce. While your proposed agreements will not technically carry any legal weight until formal proceedings begin, these preliminary private negotiations will help the two of you understand each other’s positions, goals, and needs as your divorce unfolds.
Taking the time to privately discuss divorce terms before consulting with attorneys can significantly speed up the process. Your respective attorneys will not need to help you create your agreement from the ground up. Instead, they will simply need to help the two of you refine your divorce terms into a mutually agreeable and legally enforceable divorce resolution. Once you and your spouse have the framework drafted, you can present it to your respective attorneys and get a head start on finalizing your divorce.
Minimize the Need to Return to Court
One of the best aspects of the family court system is that it is possible to return to court to adjust a family court order in light of recent life events. For example, if your family court order requires you to pay child support based on your income and you lose your job due to an unexpected injury, you can petition the court for a reduced child support obligation to reflect your new circumstances. In addition, the post-judgment modification process of the family court system functionally prevents the need for a complex and protracted appeals process and is much more flexible in terms of what can and cannot be changed in a family court order.
While the modification process is valuable and often necessary, one of the best things you can do to streamline your divorce and minimize your legal costs is to ensure your divorce agreement is as future-proof as possible, minimizing the need to return to court later and incur further expense to adjust your order. Taking full advantage of alternative dispute resolution and choosing the right attorney to represent you in your divorce case are the two most important things to do if you want to reduce the possibility of needing to adjust your family court order in the near future through modification proceedings.
Choose a Reliable Attorney
Perhaps the most crucial factor when it comes to streamlining your divorce is choosing the correct legal representation. Your attorney should seek to minimize the time and expense required for your divorce, providing you with comprehensive, detailed, and individualized legal guidance through every phase of your case. Take time to research your local options for legal representation, and consider asking friends, family, and coworkers about their experiences if they have recently divorced.
The right attorney will take time to get to know you and your situation to help you make more informed choices about your divorce proceedings. They will assess the level of agreeableness between you and your spouse and evaluate your respective needs and goals to help you determine whether alternative dispute resolution is realistic and feasible, helping you streamline your divorce case if so. Ultimately, divorce can be an emotionally challenging and incredibly stressful time in your life, and having legal counsel you can trust is invaluable when facing this situation. Contact an experienced St. Charles, MO, divorce attorney once you decide to divorce so you can complete the process as swiftly and efficiently as possible.