If you are facing a divorce, you have many pressing concerns, and one of them is bound to focus on how long the divorce process itself is going to take. When you’re going through a difficult time, it’s only natural to want it to end sooner rather than later, but it’s also obviously important to negotiate divorce terms that support you and your children’s best interests. An experienced divorce attorney in Seattle can help you better understand the timeline that’s likely associated with your unique divorce and can help ensure that your parental and financial rights are protected throughout.
The Minimum Time Requirement
In the State of Washington, you must wait at least two months from the time you file to the time your divorce is finalized. This means that, right out of the gate, your divorce is going to take some time. Most divorces encounter at least a scheduling snag or two that can extend the process beyond this minimum time requirement. Further, if you have divorce-related issues to resolve between the two of you, your divorce is likely to require considerably more time than the minimum two-month requirement.
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Is Your Divorce Uncontested?
Many people think an uncontested divorce refers to a divorce in which both spouses happily agree on every issue there is to resolve during the course of their divorce, but this is far from the case. An uncontested divorce is simply a divorce in which you and your spouse are able to hammer out mutually acceptable compromises – by whatever means necessary – for every issue that’s pertinent to your divorce. You don’t have to be best friends. In fact, you don’t even have to be on speaking terms. But you will need to be amenable to negotiating – via your respective divorce attorneys – for terms that you are both willing to sign off on.
One important point to keep in mind is that, if your soon-to-be ex wants to delay the process and make things more difficult, there is very little you can do to stop him or her from doing so (other than learning to let go of the details that are ultimately insignificant and to prioritize those issues that matter most to you). All of this being said, uncontested divorces tend to take less time and tend to be less costly than contested divorces.
The Terms of Your Divorce
The issues that you and your divorcing spouse will need to resolve together in order to move ahead with an uncontested divorce include:
- Child custody arrangements (called conservatorship in WA)
- Child support payments
- The division of your community property (or marital property)
- Spousal maintenance (often referred to as alimony)
If you can come to mutually acceptable terms on each of these issues (as applicable to your divorce), the court is very likely to accept your decisions and finalize your divorce in the process.
Reaching a Consensus
The manner in which you reach a consensus with your divorcing spouse on each divorce issue that is applicable will help determine the amount of time your divorce will ultimately require. The following negotiating options are all available to you (in ascending order of probable time investment):
- You and your spouse can negotiate terms between yourselves.
- You and your spouse can allow your respective divorce attorneys to negotiate mutually acceptable terms on your behalf.
- You and your spouse and your respective divorce attorneys can proceed to mediation where a neutral third-party with professional experience as a mediator will attempt to help you explore compromises that you may not have previously considered.
If you exhaust these options and still have at least one unresolved issue, you’ll need the court to intervene on your behalf. To do this, you’ll need to work within the court’s schedule, which will almost certainly extend the amount of time it takes you to finalize your divorce.
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Work with an Experienced Bellevue Divorce Attorney from the Outset
The formidable divorce attorneys at the Aberdeen Law Firm in Bellevue are committed not only to helping you obtain the right divorce terms for you but also to helping you streamline the divorce process. Your divorce priorities guide us, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (425) 363-9877 today.