Going through a divorce is already stressful, so you may consider saving yourself time, money, and additional worry by reaching a settlement outside of court. Ending a marriage is emotionally exhausting, and dealing with lengthy court battles can only exacerbate this already stressful situation. In some cases when both spouses are willing, all of the issues surrounding your divorce can be resolved outside of a courtroom. Though every divorce must go through the judicial system, the ones that go to trial can often take months and sometimes even years to reach the finish line. Not only can this be extremely stressful to deal with over such a period of time, but it can be quite expensive as well. Instead, you can work out an agreement with your spouse outside of court without any pressure or fees from attorneys and the court. Here are some steps you can take to reach a divorce settlement outside of the court.
Step 1: Contact a Divorce Attorney
Even if you are planning to settle your divorce outside of court, you should still seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer. Having an attorney is important in helping you navigate the legal process and understanding all of the paperwork required to settle outside of court. An attorney will also ensure all rules are followed correctly and that your rights are protected. A lawyer will also be able to help answer any questions, provide helpful advice, and guide you through the process.
Step 2: Schedule a Discussion
After speaking to an attorney, it is time to sit down and speak with your spouse. Schedule a meeting in a neutral location where you can both discuss the terms of your divorce. This will include things like asset division, child custody, and any other issues that are important to you. You can keep this discussion informal and meet alone at first, but be sure that you do not sign anything or enter into any agreements without consulting your attorney.
Step 3: Gather Financial Information
In every divorce there will be a period known as the discovery phase, in which both parties will be required to share information about their assets and finances with the other party. It is your responsibility to be open and honest with your spouse and submit accurate information. Your divorce lawyer will be able to assist you in finding the necessary documents and reviewing them with your beforehand.
Step 4: Create a Detailed Parenting Plan
If you and your spouse have children, agreeing on a parenting plan is probably a top concern for you both. In order to settle your divorce outside of court, you will both need to work together to come up with a plan that satisfies both of you while also serving the best interests of your children. Your attorney can help you come with a suggested plan and calculate appropriate child support amounts.
Step 5: Work with a Mediator
If you and your spouse are unable to amicably reach an agreement, you may consider hiring a mediator to help you through the negotiation process. Mediators can be helpful in preventing conflict and reducing any tensions that may arise.
Step 6: Submit Your Divorce Agreement
Once you and spouse have reached an agreement that you are both happy with, you both will sign the document with your attorneys present. You will then be ready to submit it to the judge for review. With the judge’s approval, the agreement will then be entered as final court order.