The immensely popular reality television show Real Housewives has catapulted dozens of women, their marriages, and often times their divorce, into the lime light. This week, Bethenny Frankel, Real Housewife of New York (RHONY) veteran, ended her two year marriage with an EIGHT year long divorce. The couple married in March of 2010; you can watch the whole process on the RHONY spin off “Bethenny Ever After.” After two years together, the couple separated and then spent quadruple that time (and money) ending their marriage.
Is Bethenny Frankel’s divorce the norm?
Almost every conversation with a client about their impending divorce ends with some version of, “how long until I am divorced?” I hate this question because I don’t know. I can’t guarantee it won’t take eight years, though in ninety-nine percent of cases divorce won’t even take a tenth of that time.
So, instead I talk about the ONE factor that impacts how long a divorce action lingers with the courts: “you and your ex on the same page and agree.”
If you both agree to a divorce and what it all entails: custody, visitation, child support, division of debts, division of assets, taxes, moving, spousal support, and attorney’s fees and costs; then the divorce process only takes as long as is needed to write it up, sign, get it to the courthouse and wait the statutory 31 days. But, when you can’t agree on one of these factors, let alone multiple – that is how you start tacking on months to figure it out. In some cases, like Bethenny Frankel and her ex-husband, you tack on years.
Your divorce doesn’t need to take eight months, let alone eight years, so long as you know what you have, what you want, and what your ex will agree to.
You don’t have to agree. If what your ex is offering is really bad, you shouldn’t. But you should quantify the really bad (to the extent that can be quantified) so that you can always be mindful of what it will likely cost to shift from really bad to really good, or at least pretty good. That way you never spend good money after bad. That way, you can always make the wise decision.
You want your divorce done today? BAM, it’s done. You want what you want? Dig in. It will likely take a little longer.