Making the decision to separate and divorce can be heartbreaking, even if it is the right choice.
Most people seeking a divorce want the process to be over as soon as possible so they can move on with their lives. However, divorce proceedings can take longer than expected, especially if you have a contested divorce.
So how can you make your Virginia divorce proceed quicker? Here are three tips to help expedite the process to reduce delays and get the final order.
1. Get Documents Signed and Notarized as Soon as Possible
When filing for divorce in Virginia, you’ll need to have a divorce complaint. You’ll also need a settlement agreement if you have an uncontested divorce in which you and your spouse agree on terms. The last form you’ll need with an uncontested divorce is a proposed final decree, which should reflect your settlement agreement.
Having all of these documents signed and notarized as soon as possible can help ensure your divorce is processed quickly. Filing for divorce only to have the clerk or judge come back with a missing signature or information can cause significant delays in the process.
2. Close Joint Bank Accounts
If you and your spouse have a joint bank account, the account should be emptied and the assets divided before a judge finalizes your divorce.
The money can be used to settle debts, or it can be divided between you and your spouse. However, if you’re pursuing an uncontested divorce, you will need to agree on the amount that each spouse gets.
Once the money is out of the account, go ahead and close the account. You can keep the account if you wish, but you should always change ownership of the account so that you or your spouse remain the sole owner before your divorce is finalized.
3. Make Decisions on Custody and Support Issues
To ensure your Virginia divorce goes as smoothly as possible, you and your spouse should agree on decisions regarding custody and support, including child support if you have children under the age of 18.
Agreeing on these terms as well as the distribution of property and debt means you have an uncontested divorce, which allows a judge to approve your divorce much faster than in a contested divorce. Once you decide on custody, support, and asset and debt division, you can file all the necessary paperwork with the court and submit the rest of the paperwork, including the Final Order of Divorce.
If you and your spouse do not agree on terms, the court may make the decisions for you, or it may require you and your spouse to try mediation. Both mediation and litigation can prolong the divorce process, which is not ideal for most families.
Need Help With Your Virginia Divorce?
It’s possible to accelerate the divorce process by working with your spouse to agree on terms, close joint bank accounts, and file all the paperwork properly. Don’t make mistakes with your Virginia divorce that could delay the final order—contact Virginia Family Law Center, P.C., today to work with an experienced attorney to help your divorce go more smoothly.