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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Can I ask the judge to postpone our divorce?

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 13, 2023)

Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 08:22 pm

Can I Ask the Judge to Postpone Our Divorce?

Going through a divorce can be really stressful and emotionally draining. You may have a lot of questions about the process, your rights, and what will happen next. One common question that comes up is: can I ask the judge to postpone the divorce if I’m not ready?

The short answer is yes, you can request a continuance to postpone the divorce proceedings. However, judges don’t automatically grant these requests. There has to be a valid legal reason for the delay. When Would a Continuance Be Granted?

Judges understand that divorces are complicated and you may need more time to prepare. They will usually grant a continuance for certain legitimate reasons like:

  • You need time to find an attorney – Judges will often allow a short delay like 2-3 weeks to find representation.
  • There is new evidence or information – If something new comes up that affects the case, you may get a continuance to address it.
  • You have a serious illness or emergency – Things like hospitalization, death in the family, etc. are reasonable causes for delay.
  • The other spouse doesn’t respond – If your spouse won’t cooperate, a continuance gives them more time to reply before a default judgment.

The key is showing the judge that you have a valid, legal reason for postponing the case. You can’t just ask for a delay because you changed your mind or aren’t ready emotionally. There has to be a legitimate basis.

How to Request a Continuance

The process for asking to postpone a divorce hearing depends on where you live and whether a court date is scheduled yet. Here are some tips:

  • File a written motion – Most states require a formal, written request. Verbal or phone requests are often rejected.
  • Provide notice – Give the other party time to respond, usually 10+ days.
  • Explain the reasons – Be specific on why you need a delay and how long.
  • Submit supporting documents – Medical records, attorney letters, etc. help back up the request.
  • Follow court rules – File the motion properly and on time based on local rules.

It’s smart to have a divorce lawyer help with this process. An attorney can advise you on the laws and rules in your jurisdiction and draft the continuance request properly.

How Long Can a Divorce Be Postponed?

If the judge grants a continuance, they will decide how long to delay the case. Some guidelines on timeframes:

  • Finding a lawyer – Usually 2-4 weeks.
  • Settling issues – 1-2 months if actively negotiating.
  • Illness/emergency – As long as reasonably needed to recover and address the situation.
  • Non-response – 30-60 days to allow the other party to reply.

Most experts advise against trying to stall a divorce for too long. Judges frown upon obvious delays and may stop granting continuances. Talk to your lawyer about what timeframe seems reasonable.

What if My Request is Denied?

If the judge decides not to postpone the case, you may be out of luck. Some options if your motion is denied include:

  • File an appeal – You may be able to challenge the judge’s decision to a higher court.
  • Negotiate an agreement – See if your spouse will agree to a delay to avoid a trial.
  • Participate in mediation – A mediator may help you resolve issues needing more time.
  • Show up anyway – If you can’t delay the case, make sure to appear so your spouse can’t get a default judgment.

While frustrating, remember that judges aim to resolve divorces fairly and efficiently. If your request to postpone is denied, your best bet is to move forward proactively.

Navigating the continuance process and rules can be really confusing, especially if you aren’t a legal expert. Having an experienced divorce attorney assist you makes a big difference. Here are some ways a lawyer can help:

  • Advise whether you have grounds for a continuance under the law
  • Guide you through the process if your request is denied
  • Draft and file the postponement request properly
  • Improve your chances of success by supporting the motion with evidence
  • Negotiate agreements with your spouse to delay the case

Going through a divorce is tough enough without having to figure out legal issues like postponements on your own. Sit down with a local family law attorney to understand your options. With expert help guiding you, it can give you the extra time you may need while also showing the judge you are acting in good faith.

The bottom line is that asking for a continuance is possible if you have a legitimate reason. Work closely with your lawyer to improve the chances your request will be approved. They can help ensure you handle the postponement process smoothly so you can get the extra time you need during this challenging transition in your life.

For more information on postponing your divorce case, check out these helpful resources:

Having reliable information empowers you to make the best choices. Consult these resources and contact an experienced divorce lawyer to get the support you deserve during this challenging time.

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