WHEN to File
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When is the Best Time to File for Divorce?
Seasonal Factors Increase Divorce Rates, but the Decision is Ultimately Personal
The decision to file for divorce is deeply personal and something that most people come to over an extended period of time. It’s not a decision that should be left to lawyers. You should only seek out the assistance of a divorce attorney after making a final decision that your marriage is at an end. Once the decision is reached, you can then begin the process of strategic planning for achieving your objectives.
After deciding that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and that you want a divorce from your spouse, a good place to start is to research the process online. Once you have a basic understanding of what happens, a free consultation with the best divorce lawyer in the state is the next thing you should do.
During your free consultation, you should ask questions about the process, the cost, and the expected time frames. You should also ask about the lawyer and his or her law firm. Be sure to review their fees and billing structure. This can provide great insight about what you can expect during your divorce and afterwards. It’s also an excellent opportunity to interview potential lawyers for your representation.
The Initial Stages of Divorce
After deciding on the most qualified divorce attorney for your case, you should begin strategic planning for the initial phases of your divorce. This includes where you’re going to live, how you’re going to pay your bills, what you should expect with regard to parenting time, decision-making and child support, and other factors.
Modern Family Law can help you with:
- Drafting the petition for divorce
- Including requests for child custody
- Discussing sole and joint legal or physical custody
- Representing you in the court of law
Strategic planning also includes when to file, where to file, and what to file. Some jurisdictions are faster than others or have a more developed court processes, or may have other favorable factors that make it the best jurisdiction in which to file your divorce. It may be to your advantage to file sooner rather than later, or you and your divorce lawyer may decide there is a strategic advantage to hold off.
What Do I Have to File?
In the state of Colorado, there is no such thing as an emergency divorce. All parties must wait a minimum mandatory of 90 days in order to finalize their divorce. This waiting period during a divorce is often referred to as the cooling off period. Some divorce cases can be completed on the 91st day, if the parties are willing to work together and get all the paperwork done and submitted to the court. Otherwise, if the case is going to be contested, a hearing has to be set on the court’s docket.
These hearings, called permanent orders hearings, can be set for as much as 18 months after the divorce is filed. The contested issues radically impact the time frame of the divorce process. If the parties choose to argue over parenting time and decision-making, expert witnesses must be retained to evaluate the families and make recommendations for the court. Involving an expert this way can add significant time to the duration of the divorce process.
Also, a party may not want to get divorced. That party may engage in foot dragging that slows the process down. Things like resetting hearings, asking for extensions, or simply being difficult can add significant time to your divorce case. Most divorces are completed between 9 and 12 months. It’s a rarity these days to find a divorce case that lasts 2 or 3 years. Parties may come back to the court for modification of the court orders, but very rarely does a case go beyond this time frame.
Set Realistic Expectations for Your Divorce and Child Custody Case
A divorce is completed when the family law court enters a decree of dissolution. This decree can be entered after the parties reached a settlement, and submit a separation agreement, or it may be entered at the end of hearing on the contested matters, known as a permanent orders hearing. A permanent orders hearing may last an hour, a day, a week, or even longer. Courts do what they can to expedite these hearings, however sometimes there are just too many issues and too many witnesses to get the hearing accomplished quickly.
The sooner a party files for divorce, the more quickly the court can enter a decree. Even in cases where it may be an important consideration to delay the filing, the parties need to ask themselves whether the peace of mind of resolving the dispute more quickly is worth something.
Call our firm at (303) 394-3030 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.