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Can I Legally Delay Divorce Court Proceedings?

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Most people want to be done with their divorce process once they have concluded it is an inevitable circumstance. But what happens if your spouse chooses to unreasonably delay the legal divorce process?

A spouse can wittingly delay the divorce process by chaffering over settlement terms and contesting the divorce. While they cannot halt the process, they can end up prolonging it. This means higher fees for both parties and unreasonable mental anguish.

A spouse’s divorce delay tactics are not the only factors that determine how long the proceedings will take. If a divorce is contested, the ex-couple must enter litigation. Similarly, some states have a waiting period for finalizing a divorce.

What Are Some Tactics I May Encounter if They Want to Legally Delay Divorce Court?

If a spouse wishes to delay a divorce proceeding, there are several ways at their disposal. Some of the common ways often used to stall the process include:

  • Failing to sign required documents
  • Reschedule important events due to health issues
  • Switching lawyers
  • Dropping mediation at the last minute
  • Filing petty motions
  • Avoiding service of process. Refusing to accept divorce papers.
  • Declining to respond to emails, texts, and phone calls
  • Refusing to respond to discovery requests

Why Would a Spouse Want to Delay Our Divorce?

questions about delaying divorce

Some of the reasons we have observed why a spouse may want to delay a divorce include:

They Want to Revenge or Punish You

A spouse can do this by requesting bank records dating back to over a decade ago and filing for options to come. Such tactics, unfortunately, hurt both parties and could skyrocket legal fees two hundredfold.

To Get a Financial Benefit

If your spouse receives temporary spousal support and suspects there will no longer be spousal support post-divorce, this may be a reason to delay the whole process.

Anxiety About Custody Arrangements

A former partner may attempt to delay the divorce process as a way of gaining control over you. The reason behind this might be anxiety about the future or just a way of causing you pain. Issues of child custody and parenting time can take a long time to resolve.

Acting on Hurt, Spite, or Anger

Deep concerns about their financial future and want the largest possible share of the marital wealth

  • Pressure from their family or their new spouse on certain settlement terms like spousal support
  • Unhappiness About the Divorce
  • An Existing Hope of Saving the Marriage

How Can I Deal with Divorce Delay Tactics?

Sometimes knowing if your ex-partner will use some of these delay tactics can be difficult. However, a skilled collaborative divorce attorney skilled in mediation can help you point out motivations for some of these tactics and work out mechanisms to help both parties.

Are There Other Ways My Divorce Could Drag?

complications that can legally delay divorce court

Unfortunately, a legal representative can try to still your divorce process. This is often a way for such lawyers to maximize their own profits thus ending up complicating matters for you. If you are in such a situation and suspect your attorney of such antics, consult an outside lawyer and switch lawyers to speed up the process.

Divorce is often a difficult and expensive process. You deserve competent and compassionate legal assistance that will result in the least pain possible.

Your Ex-Spouse Conflicts Out Several Attorneys Near You

Lawyers are bound by a code of conduct that prevents them from representing clients that are conflicted. Your spouse could use these ethics in the attorneys’ handbook to bar you from accessing a lawyer. If he or she goes ahead and consults with several lawyers in the area for a consultation, you may fail to have your first choice of representation. You may take some time to find a qualified and knowledgeable divorce attorney who won’t be disqualified by “conflict of interest.”

Quickly Agreeing to a Settlement

If a spouse pushes for a quick settlement, it often means there is something they are hiding and this could further delay the process. Each spouse has the right to examine financial information before agreeing on a final settlement. But if a partner agrees to a settlement too quickly, you may have to hire a forensic accountant to try and unearth any intentionally hidden financial information. And this will take more time.

A Complex Divorce Case

Some divorce cases are naturally complex. If the case involves child custody disputes, significant assets, and needs several investigations, it could take longer to finalize it. In a divorce case, couples may need to complete certain actions before the case can proceed. Sometimes each divorce step may take months to resolve this delaying the overall timeframe of the proceeding. However, couples who cooperate well may speed up this process.

What are the Effects of Delaying a Divorce in Court?

Effects Legally Delay Divorce Court

If you or your spouse has been delaying the divorce process, here are some reasons why moving forward is the best option:

Heavy Emotional Baggage

Delaying a divorce can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Research shows that people who endure marital stress are at risk of psychiatric disorders. Staying in limbo prevents you from leading a meaningful life in the present.

Financial Risk

Delaying your divorce has significant financial implications in fees and costs. Furthermore, you could be liable if your ex did something stupid on a property that still has your name on it. You could also be prevented from buying property or investing because of bad credit brought to you by your ex.

Effect on Your Kids

Delaying a divorce can also affect your kids. Exposure to prolonged conflict and fighting can derail your kids’ recovery process. Keeping the divorce short and amicable shows the children that they are still a priority in their lives.

The Conclusion to Legally Delaying Your Divorce

If your spouse intentionally stalls the divorce process, you have several things to do. You are not compelled to remain married to someone if your wish is to be divorced.

Judges can see when a spouse is trying to drag their feet. And a judge can order payment of court fees and additional attorney fees if it is determined that it was an intentional delay. The judge can also compel participation in mediation or depositions, or give sanctions that will ensure compliance.

Even in divorce cases involving the most recalcitrant spouse, expect your divorce to be finalized in two years.

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Mike Mwangi

Most people will agree with me that divorce is a very difficult time. And for me, I’ve taken the path of helping people through this transition of life by giving them information that will make their lives a lot less stressful as they adjust. I work in a legal research role with Divorce Mistakes Network and have assisted leading law firms with research and delivering relevant content for those facing divorce. Whether lawyer, law firm, or other divorce-related professionals (mediators, financial advisors, accountants, therapists, counselors, etc) I help bridge the gap between legal minds and those affected by divorce. Let’s connect with ideas for content that helps everyone successfully conquer divorce.

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