How to Divorce Without Going to Court
The average divorce takes 11 months to finalize. If you prefer a more straightforward process with less time in court, you have several options.
Can You Divorce Outside of Court?
Since the media tends to depict divorce as a big argument in court, many people assume that they have to go through a trial. However, the reality is that this type of divorce is often unnecessary. You are actually legally allowed to divorce without court. You and your spouse just draft your own divorce agreement and then file it with a judge. As long as your divorce agreement follows state laws, the judge will then sign off on it, and your divorce is finalized.
In its simplest form, a divorce is just paperwork. You’ll need to fill out documents about things like dividing assets and providing child support. A DIY divorce is technically possible, but most people prefer to work with a divorce lawyer even if they’re divorcing outside of court. All the legal details can be complicated, so a lawyer will help you be sure that all of the paperwork is properly filled out and submitted to the correct departments.
Explore Your Options for Divorcing Outside of Court
As long as you have a supportive lawyer, divorcing outside of court is theoretically easy. However, ending any relationship can bring up some surprising emotions, so it’s not always easy to work with your estranged partner. There are a few different methods that you can use to help you get the benefits of divorcing outside of court without causing undue stress.
A collaborative divorce is an option that works well when you and your spouse are on good terms. You informally discuss the divorce, talk about what works for each of you, and then meet with an attorney to process the paperwork. In a collaborative divorce, you work together to dissolve the marriage in a respectful and convenient way.
Mediation is a court-free divorce technique that helps those who struggle to talk to their spouse. In mediation, you and your partner both sit down with a neutral third party. The mediator is usually a lawyer or a person with expertise in both legal and psychological matters. This person guides you through the divorce process while helping to resolve disagreements and make suggestions on how to compromise. They act as a sort of referee and help to keep emotions from sidetracking the divorce process.
Arbitration is a good solution for cases where both parties cannot agree. An arbitrator is a family law expert who functions almost like a private judge. Both parties sign an agreement before beginning the process where they promise to follow the arbitration rules and accept the arbitrator’s decision.
The arbitrator will hear both sides of the argument and then make a recommendation for how the couple’s divorce agreement should proceed. Arbitrators have a little more authority than mediators, so they’re useful when you and your spouse have strongly opposing viewpoints.
Benefits to Divorcing Outside of Court
There are many advantages to divorcing outside of court. Many people find that divorcing outside of court allows them to:
- Get the divorce finalized faster
- Save money on court fees
- Reduce overall stress levels
- Avoid the risk of a judge making decisions that they disagree with
- Stay on good terms with their former spouse
- Keep the details of the divorce private
- Build a stronger co-parenting relationship with less resentment
At the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner, our team has plenty of experience helping people to divorce outside of court. Our clients can count on us to make the process as simple, fast, and stress-free as possible. To set up a free consultation with a Jenkintown divorce lawyer, call 215-886-1266 or email us today.