Once a couple decides divorce is the best option, it’s only natural that they’d want the process to move quickly, which is why we’re often asked if there’s a way to “speed up” the process.
However, it’s important to remember that this process doesn’t just end a marriage, it also sets up your future and dramatically impacts your children’s lives. While getting a divorce finalized as quickly as possible should not be your goal, below are a few things that will affect how long your divorce takes, as well as which time-consuming mistakes you may be able to avoid.
How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced?
Florida has a 20 day waiting period following a divorce filing. Typically, that waiting period will have very little impact on the length of your divorce, as the average divorce takes over a year to be finalized.
Most often, these are the factors that affect the length of a divorce:
If the divorce is being contested.
If one spouse doesn’t want to get divorced or is refusing to come to a reasonable agreement on certain matters, your divorce will take longer because the courts will likely need to intervene.
Divorces are often finalized faster when both couples are amicable and can come to a mutual agreement on most aspects of the divorce.
Creating a childcare plan.
The process for divorcing parents will often be longer than the divorce process for those without children because there are many additional things to consider — childcare, child support, and custody matters to name just a few. The process can also take longer if you have to work around your children’s school schedule, sports games, and extracurricular activities.
If you or your spouse owns a business.
Florida is an equitable distribution divorce state, meaning each spouse keeps the property and debts that belonged to them before the marriage. If one spouse started a business before the marriage, he or she may be able to keep that asset. However, businesses that were started after the marriage may be considered a marital asset.
If the business is a marital asset, couples will need to decide what they want to do — continue as business partners, let one spouse keep the business (while the other receives an equitable share of other assets), or sell the business and split the proceeds.
When high net worths are involved.
A high asset divorce complicates matters because there’s more marital property that needs to be divided, including the primary residence, vacation homes, investments, retirement funds, jewelry and artwork, savings, debts and more.
In order to avoid wasting time, both parties should be honest about what assets they have. For example, in addition to knowing that a savings account exists, you should also know how much is in that account. If one party tries to hide money or assets, they will prolong the process (because a forensic accountant will need to be brought in) and face additional penalties.
Circumstances beyond your control.
If these past few months have taught us anything, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye. The COVID-19 pandemic affected every aspect of people’s day-to-day lives, as well as the family court system. Whether because courts were short-staffed or closed, some matters are, unfortunately, out of your control.
Other, more traditional extenuating circumstances include a spouse’s illness, job loss, or relocation.
Are you looking to get a divorce in Florida? Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Contact Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa online or call (305) 853-9161 to learn how we can help!