Sometimes clients want to know if they can have a "quickie" divorce; a recent example is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who settled all of their issues within weeks. In certain cases things can be finalized relatively quickly, within a few months, if they meet certain criteria. What kind of criteria, you ask? Things such as this:
1. There are no children. The vast majority of complex, expensive divorces involve arguments over the children, custody and support. If you do not have children, or your children are over age 18, things are much less complicated.
2. You rent rather than own. If there is no large asset to sell or divide, this is one less obstacle to overcome. No need to fight about selling price or who is going to refinance and buy out the other.
3. You have already been separated for a while. In those cases the parties have already divided their assets and are living separately, so there is usually nothing left to fight over.
4. You put your children's needs before your own. Self-explanatory.
5. The other spouse is reasonable and not bent on revenge. This is a wild card; you cannot predict it. Sometimes you don't know if a formerly reasonable spouse is going to become difficult, or want to fight everything in court. See #4 above.
6. Neither spouse is self-employed. There are many opportunities for parties to be less than truthful when self-employed; conversely, the spouse who is not so employed may demand a witch hunt for what he or she believes are "hidden assets".
7. Notwithstanding all of the above, even if you have children under 18 and own a home, you can STILL get divorced relatively quickly IF you and your spouse agree upon the division of those assets and debts and complete a Property Settlement Agreement including all the assets, debts, support and custody issues. This is a large document which is prepared by your attorney and filed with your final divorce.