How long can a divorce be put on hold generally depends on the parties and the judge.
If both parties agree and are cooperative, then the divorce can be completed quickly, but if they are uncooperative, it could delay the divorce process.
Read this guide to know the reasoning behind this.
What Length of Time Can a Divorce Be Put On Hold?
It greatly depends on your legal system, but in the USA, you typically have 60 to 90 days to postpone a divorce. Couples have this amount of time to decide whether to finalize their divorce or withdraw the case.
We’ll go through more processes and solutions related to this topic below.
There will be repercussions if you delay the divorce process, whether you really proceed with it or not. Here are some of the consequences of holding up a divorce:
The most malicious justification for delaying a divorce is when your spouse is attempting to hide assets, deny you support payments, leave you without a place to live, or run up your attorney fees. Additionally, these partners frequently fight tenaciously to prevent you from collecting your just settlement.
They might not be aware that this might also increase financial burdens on them by increasing their attorney’s fees and other legal costs.
Wastage of Court’s Time
Unnecessary halting of the divorce proceeding might be treated as contempt of court as it is increasing the burden on the court. A judge may accuse your spouse of contempt of court if they disobey court orders in any way, which could effectively frighten them into abiding by the rules.
Your spouse may give up their sneaky behaviour and cooperate with the procedure if they don’t want to go to jail.
Along with the emotional consequences, suffering from financial losses can be debilitating. Even when their soon-to-be ex deliberately delays the divorce process, spouses are still required to pay the attorneys’ fees.
Since divorce attorneys are frequently compensated by the hour, both parties will be responsible for paying if your spouse purposefully prolongs the process. In extreme circumstances, one spouse could lose their attorney and fall insolvent. Without legal representation, the likelihood of a bad result could increase.
What Are the Ways a Spouse May Prolong the Divorce Process?
Misusing the discovery process, asking for a continuance, breaking verbal agreements, and making false accusations are some methods a spouse may use to prolong the divorce proceedings.
Divorce is never simple. When divorcing, spouses don’t always agree on every issue, which should be anticipated. But when one spouse deliberately delays the divorce, things get worse.
Perhaps they weren’t in favor of the divorce, they want to exact retribution, or they want to put off the divorce in the hopes that the spouse who filed for it will eventually change their mind. Other causes for a spouse to delay getting a divorce decree include:
- They want to make money from it.
- They wish to conceal their wealth.
- They disagree on the issues of child support and custody.
- They intend to exert pressure on the other spouse to accept their demands.
- They fear financial instability and seek to take control of the majority of the marital property.
Whatever the cause, the fact remains that prolonging a divorce costs money to both parties. Here are some of the tactics used by a spouse to delay the divorce:
– Misusing the Discovery Process
Both parties typically want evidence during the divorce procedure, but some spouses may prolong the process by submitting several motions and requests. The procedure suddenly slows down as you are required to provide vast volumes of information.
– Asking for a Continuance
Your partner may request a new date for the hearing by informing the judge that you do not have enough time to prepare. Your spouse might be able to merely claim that they have not yet sought legal counsel, whereas you need a legitimate reason to request a continuance.
– Breaking Verbal Agreements
The parties in a divorce typically make verbal arrangements of some form, such as who will live in the house or which funds would be used for costs. A verbal agreement could be abruptly broken if one spouse wants to put off the divorce, creating new problems.
– Making False Accusations
In a particularly contentious divorce, your ex-spouse can accuse you of abuse or child neglect and seek a protection order against you. This might make child custody and divorce more difficult.
– Forcing You to File Motions
You may need to submit motions to obtain accurate information about your spouse’s finances since your spouse may stall the process by concealing assets or using other cunning strategies. This procedure could take a long time if your spouse is uncooperative.
How Can You Legally Hold up the Divorce Proceedings?
To put a hold on your divorce, you will need to submit a Motion for Default and set up a hearing so that the judge could decide whether or not to issue an Order of Default. The waiting time for this is around 90 days.
The count starts from the date you filed the divorce petition or from the date you served the petition until a court can sign your divorce papers after the judge issues your order. Even then, it may take longer than 90 days to finalize your divorce.
Make sure you work with a divorce law attorney to resolve any issues that develop because there are numerous additional reasons that could impede the process. Here are the legally viable options to delay your divorce:
– Apply for the Motion To Abate
When a couple wishes to work on their relationship before deciding to obtain a divorce, they can halt the process by filing a Motion to Abate. This hold may be in place for 60 to 90 days, depending on the county where the divorce petition was filed.
This gives the pair ample time to seek marriage counselling and come to a final decision on the future of their union. After this time, if the couple wishes to proceed with the divorce, they must submit a Motion to Continue the Proceedings.
– Apply for a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss the Dissolution
The partners need to file this if they decide to stay together. With the filing of this document, the divorce case is concluded, and it will be as if a divorce petition was never even submitted. The pair would have to start over if they decide to get a divorce after this, though. Due to this, they would be required to pay a new filing fee, which is typically in the range of $400.
The safest step is to get legal counsel whenever a couple is dealing with a family law matter such as divorce. A lawyer can examine the circumstances and advise a couple on what to do.
There are remedies available if both parties think the filing was a mistake. They can investigate these possibilities with the assistance of a lawyer, who can also make sure they are completely aware of their legal rights.
What To Do if Your Partner Is Delaying Divorce Process?
The most common solution if your spouse is unnecessarily holding up the divorce process is to schedule a final trial. You must give some days’ notice as required by the respective laws of the country.
You must also consider delivering that notice if your divorce is taking longer than necessary. Giving notice of a final trial, however, does not imply that your case will certainly go to a contested final trial.
Many disputes are resolved during mediation, often just before a trial. But frequently, those settlement discussions do not begin in earnest until the case is about to go to trial. Thus, even while no one really wants their case to go to a contested trial, scheduling a trial may actually help the case get past all the unwarranted delays.
There are, of course, further choices. These include sending settlement offers even before mediation, petitioning the court for a scheduling order, seeking the court to order mediation, etc. As we can see, in most circumstances, the solution is quite straightforward.
In addition to required delays, it is true that divorces can occasionally be postponed just because the other spouse is attempting to delay things. This may occur due to the above mentioned causes, and for financial gain, your spouse might desire to put off certain tasks.
- In the event of a delay in your divorce, your partner could not desire a divorce or might just want to drag it out to get even with you.
- Your partner can simply be difficult and unable to manage the situation calmly and thus may use frustrating causes that will bog down the divorce procedure.
- Even after filing for divorce, a couple may decide to get back together by filing a motion to abate and a motion to voluntarily dismiss the dissolution.
- There are remedies available if both parties think the filing was a mistake. They can investigate these possibilities with the assistance of a lawyer to be aware of their legal rights.
- You might ask for a court hearing to address divorce issues with the aid of a lawyer. Since you are not to blame for the delays, you could also ask your spouse for legal bills.
We hope that you are now more aware of the reasons and consequences of delaying the divorce process. Thus, take legally viable steps to delay or avoid delaying the divorce process in your case.
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