Why Does Divorce Take So Long? Here’s How To Accelerate the Process

Article By: Kari Lichtenstein

Divorce is a difficult process, often exacerbated by how long it takes to bring a divorce to a conclusion.  With financial discovery and motion practice, it can be several years before a divorce case even goes to trial or is resolved by settlement.  That timeline may be even longer with the Courts backed up post-Covid. And, since you are (hopefully) not your attorney’s only client, your case may lag because your attorney has other matters to handle.  But if you would like to accelerate your divorce, these tips may help:

  1. Remove Your Case from the Court System: Because the Court process can be very slow and you are one of hundreds of cases before a Judge, if you have the means and your spouse agrees, hire a mediator to help negotiate a settlement or an arbitrator to hear your case and issue a decision.   Beware, however, that if you hire an arbitrator, you will likely be stuck with their decision since it is typically binding.
  2. Choose Between Your Time or Your Money: Make a decision as to what is most important to you – your time or your money.  If it is your time, then end the tough negotiations and make an offer to your spouse that may be more than you had originally wanted to settle for, but that will allow you to end the process and move on with your life.  If your answer is money – you may be stuck in the divorce process for the long haul.   (But be careful not to spend more on counsel fees than you seek to gain at trial or in settlement).
  3. Have a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement: This advice is not for someone divorcing who did not previously enter into a Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreement with their spouse. However, be smart the second time around. Prenuptial (entered into before marriage) and postnuptial (entered into after marriage) agreements can resolve nearly all of the issues that you face in divorce (other than child support and child custody, unless the child had already been born at the time that you enter the agreement). Although it can be uncomfortable to ask your (intended) spouse for such an agreement, it is worth facing the awkward conversation to potentially avoid an expensive, drawn-out, emotionally taxing litigated divorce.
  4. Set the Tone: The posture that you take matters. An aggressive posture is going to lead to a drawn-out process. Be strategic about how you approach the process so that the results are not only fair but swift.
  5. Leave Your Emotions at the Door. Divorce is an emotional process. Take your time to work through your emotions. Work with a therapist if necessary. It is best to leave your emotions behind when negotiating your divorce settlement.
  6. Look at the Big Picture. New York is a no-fault divorce state. The he said/she said has little importance in dividing up assets. Do not get bogged down in the blame game – it takes time and diverts attention away from the big picture.