That is by far the most common question new clients ask me at the initial interview. While you do not have control over how much your spouse drags his or her feet, you can take certain actions which will expedite the divorce.
1. Separate your bank accounts. While many married couples utilize joint accounts to pay household bills, shared accounts can cause nothing but problems during the divorce process. Your spouse worried about how he or she is going to survive after the split or even how he or she will pay the lawyers during the divorce process may empty the account. Then you will have to run to court to request reimbursement or to freeze that account going forward incurring additional fees and making the divorce that much more expensive.
2. Be prepared. Get your financial documents together. You will need copies of your tax returns, pay stubs, mortgage statement, retirement statements and credit card statements.
3. Request that both attorneys meet early. The vast majority of divorce cases settle. Ask that your attorneys meet to discuss your respective goals. That way you will know precisely where you and your spouse differ and what you can agree on.
4. Sit down with your spouse yourself. See if you can agree on custody or what we now call in Illinois “allocation of significant decision making for the minor children”. See if you can agree on a visitation or parenting time schedule. Exchange lists of what each of you wants out of the marital home or apartment such as electronic equipment.
5. If you cannot agree on custody or visitation, get your attorney to send you to mediation sooner rather than later.
6. If the two of you are not getting along at all and multiple conflicts keep arising, don’t run to court each time you reach an impasse. See if you can wait to present more than one issue to the judge at a time for resolution. This will save you time, money and multiple court appearances which can also cost you time from work.
7. Pay attention to the timing of your offer. Don’t make the offer prematurely before your spouse has had time to accept the fact that this is a permanent split.
These are just some but not all actions you can take to expedite up your divorce.