Many people who have experienced divorce in Oklahoma City, OK, or anywhere else in the US are likely to report that it is a difficult and stressful process. Even under the most ideal circumstances, divorce involves numerous legal challenges and a level of emotional tension that will be different for every person who experiences it. If you are expecting to divorce in Oklahoma City in the near future, it’s natural to wonder what you can do to expedite the process, reduce your legal fees, and ultimately make your divorce easier to manage.
Collaborate as Much as Possible
Divorce is more than ending your marriage contract. It is also a legal process of assigning separate ownership rights to the marital property you and your spouse have acquired during your marriage. Oklahoma upholds an equitable distribution law, meaning the court will seek the most equitable, but not necessarily an equal, distribution of marital property between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Collaborative divorce is one of the best ways to streamline the property division side of divorce.
Some divorcing couples cannot negotiate anything and have trouble finding common ground on many of the issues their divorces involve, and other couples find the process easier to manage. Seeking common ground in the earliest stages of your divorce can cut the time required for mediation or litigation, depending on how willing you and your spouse are to compromise.
While you cannot make any firm decisions on your own, you and your spouse can lay the groundwork for your divorce by discussing what you both expect from the process. There will be some issues you cannot resolve privately, and some may even require litigation review. Start your divorce by trying to have a civil discussion with your spouse. If the two of you understand one another’s intentions and goals, it should make the rest of the process easier.
Take Advantage of Divorce Mediation
Many divorcing couples in Oklahoma City, OK, and elsewhere across the Midwest are taking advantage of divorce mediation for the many benefits it offers over standard divorce litigation. You can think of divorce mediation as a settlement negotiation for a civil claim. The two parties meet privately to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution to their dispute. In a divorce, mediation offers an opportunity to negotiate property division, alimony, and other aspects of a divorce in a low-pressure atmosphere.
The only actual prerequisite for divorce mediation is that both spouses must be willing to explore the process. The two spouses and their respective divorce attorneys meet with a neutral mediator and negotiate their divorce order terms item by item. This is more efficient than divorce litigation, which can easily take months in court before any firm conclusions are reached. By taking advantage of divorce mediation, you and your spouse can both dramatically reduce the cost of your respective legal fees and reach a settlement much faster than you may have expected.
One important thing to remember about divorce mediation is that you will not be able to settle every aspect of your divorce through mediation. For example, if you and your spouse have children, you can propose a parenting plan, but the Oklahoma City family court must determine an appropriate allocation of parental rights and responsibilities that aligns with your child’s best interests. You may also encounter difficult financial questions that will require litigation. Ultimately, mediation may not be able to help you solve every issue your divorce entails, but it can dramatically cut the overall time and cost of your divorce.
Hire Reliable Legal Counsel
Perhaps the most important tip to remember if you wish to streamline your divorce process is to hire the right attorney to represent you. Do not make the mistake of believing you can handle your divorce without an Oklahoma City divorce lawyer. Even if your spouse seems agreeable about most aspects of your divorce, it is always best to have an experienced legal professional looking out for your best interests.
Your attorney can assist you with many aspects of your divorce, ultimately reducing the time you need to spend researching and fact-finding as your proceedings unfold. Your attorney can help you take full advantage of alternative dispute resolution to reduce or eliminate the need for litigation. They can also consult experts who can provide valuable insights into different aspects of your case. For example, if you believe your spouse has hidden assets, your attorney can consult a forensic accountant to scan you and your spouse’s financial records to ensure property division proceeds smoothly and fairly.
If you want to be sure that your Oklahoma City divorce lawyer can provide the level of legal representation you expect, make sure you take time to find the right attorney. Look at their experience with past cases and ability to discern the unique aspects of your divorce. A good attorney should be able to quickly identify challenges and opportunities present with your situation and provide you with a roadmap of how they expect your divorce to unfold.
Start Working on Your Divorce Immediately
Informally, divorce begins once you or your spouse decide to end your marriage. Formally, the process begins once one of you files a divorce petition with the Oklahoma City family court. It does not matter which spouse files the divorce petition; the filing party does not receive any legal advantage for doing so; it just starts the formal process within the court system. Once you have taken this first step, the best thing you can do to streamline the proceedings is to start gathering the documentation, records, and evidence you will need to present.
An experienced Oklahoma City divorce attorney is an invaluable asset for any divorce case. Once you have made the decision to divorce, it’s vital to speak with an attorney as soon as possible and secure legal representation for the process. If you have concerns about the potential timeline for your divorce and the cost of your legal fees, reach out to an experienced Oklahoma City, OK, divorce lawyer as soon as possible for the legal advice you need to approach your divorce with greater confidence.