Too Busy to Get Divorced?
The divorce process can be time consuming and stressful. All too often, attorneys hear from clients that they are "too busy" to complete the tasks that their lawyers ask them to do. Whether you have a lawyer or not, the divorce process takes time. Before the process begins, prepare yourself.
Court AppearancesYou are likely going to appear in court at least one time. If both you and your spouse have attorneys, you may be able to avoid court appearances altogether. If either of you does not have an attorney, you are likely to appear in court at least once, for the initial status conference.
Mediation, Settlement Conferences and NegotiationsMediations and/or settlement conferences can last anywhere from two hours to multiple days, depending on the level of complexity of your case. For scheduling purposes, you also cannot count on your case settling at mediation or in a settlement conference.
No matter how reasonable you may be, it takes two to reach an agreement. This means that you must plan to be at your Permanent Orders hearing date, which will be scheduled through the Court. Having a lawyer does not excuse you from these appearances.
PreparingIn order to prepare for mediation, settlement conferences and court appearances, the courts and/or your attorneys are going to ask for you to complete a number of tasks, including filling out forms that summarize your income, assets, debts and expenses and compiling documents that support the numbers on these forms.
The Importance of PreparingIt is important that all of the forms you submit are filled out with as much accuracy as possible, as your signature on these documents affirms their accuracy, under penalty of perjury. Remember that your attorney can only advocate for and protect you to the extent that you are willing to advocate for and protect yourself.
Every step that the court and/or your attorney asks you to take is for your benefit. It is always best to do things the "right way" the first time. If all of the tasks assigned to you by the court are not completed, you risk either prolonging the divorce process or, worse, the possibility of your divorce being re-opened after the decree has been entered. It is far more costly and inconvenient to clean up messes after the fact.
The process of divorce will be far less stressful for you, if you track deadlines with your attorney, complete tasks in advance of the deadline, and provide ample travel time for you to get to and from court appearances and appointments.