Understanding Legal Challenges

How Your Spouse May Delay The Divorce Process

The more your divorce process drags on, the more it will cost and the longer you will stay married. Unfortunately, if you are dealing with a bitter or difficult spouse, there are things they can do to prolong the divorce unnecessarily; here are some of those things:

Constant Requests and Motions

If you are going through a divorce, you may have a pressing issue that you want the judge to decide on even before the divorce is completed. For example, you may want the court to force your spouse to produce some documents, or you may wish to take temporary custody of your child if you believe they are in danger. These applications are known as divorce pretrial motions.

Unfortunately, a spouse can prolong the divorce process by filing every imaginable pretrial motion, even if such a motion isn't exactly necessary. This can waste considerable time, but the court is obligated to listen to such requests as long as they are made in a legally acceptable manner.

Too Many Continuances

A continuance is a postponement in divorce hearing proceedings. There are several grounds that may give rise to a continuance. For example, you may be granted a continuance if you want to reconcile or you are sick (say a court date coincides with a medical treatment schedule).

Unfortunately, if your partner wants to deliberately sabotage the divorce process, they can hide under the guise of continuance. For example, if they think you are receptive to the idea of reconciliation, they can trick you into a fake reconciliation attempt while knowing very well that it is just a waste of time. The more continuances your partner files, the more they will drag out the divorce.

Forcing You to file Requests

In a typical divorce, there are pieces of information that both parties are supposed to get from each other. For example, you should have information on each other's debts, assets, and incomes, among other things. This is the only way you can negotiate a fair divorce settlement. If one of you feels that the other isn't forthright with the information, they can seek the court's help in forcing the other to produce the required documents. Unfortunately, a difficult spouse can refuse to produce the required documents or information at each stage of the divorce process, necessitating the involvement of the court at every stage of the process and dragging out the divorce.

Making False Accusations

Lastly, your spouse may also prolong the divorce process of accusing you of things you aren't guilty of. For example, they may accuse you of hiding marital assets, misappropriating marital assets, being adulterous or even abusing the kids. All these may need to be investigated and resolved before the divorce is over, which means your divorce's resolution will be pushed forward.

This is one of the reasons you need a divorce attorney. The lawyer will know how to counter these moves; it can be difficult for you as a novice.