Handle divorce professionally to save time

If you plan on getting a divorce, one of the things you're probably already aware of is that divorces take time. You have to wait a certain length of time while living separately to qualify for the divorce, and you also need to have your property division and child custody arrangements finalized.

It's important to handle your divorce as professionally as possible. If you fail to handle your divorce in a professional manner, it can take months or years longer than it would have if you'd focused on getting the divorce done. Keep in mind that, even if you want to dispute certain factors, a shorter divorce is likely to be less costly overall.

How can you make sure your divorce is finalized in a timely manner?

1. Complete your settlement and agreements

The first thing you should do is focus on getting your assets divided and coming up with a settlement. If you have children, take time before the 90-day waiting period to determine your child custody arrangements. If you'll seek spousal support, decide what you need and complete negotiations as quickly as you can. If you can resolve all the major factors in your divorce early on, then you may be able to actually divorce in as few as three months after your initial petition. If you can't come to an agreement on these topics, then your divorce will take longer.

2. Wait 90 days

To start with, understand that Washington has a waiting period from the first date of filing until you can finalize your divorce. At minimum, 90 days have to pass between the point of filing the first petition and the final decree. When you file for divorce, you have to include information about your settlement, the relief sought and other factors. During that waiting period, you or your spouse have a right to appeal, which could cause your divorce to take longer.

Washington is a state that only allows "no-fault" divorces. Even if you want to find a fault to allow you to finalize the divorce faster, that may not be possible in Washington.

3. Limit appeals

If, for one reason or another, you're unhappy with the divorce petition, you can appeal. If you do this, know that it will lengthen the divorce process. It's better to resolve your concerns before petitioning the court, if you can.

These are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make your divorce as short as possible. With good planning, it's possible to resolve your custody and settlement agreements early and finalize your divorce quickly. Your attorney can help make sure the documents for the court are in order and prepared correctly.

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