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Do I have any options if he intentionally stalls the divorce?

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 08:59 am

Do I Have Any Options If He Intentionally Stalls The Divorce?

Going through a divorce can be an extremely difficult and emotional time. Even under the best circumstances, divorce involves a lot of complicated legal processes, big life changes, and charged emotions on both sides. Unfortunately, some spouses make the process even more difficult by deliberately stalling the divorce proceedings.If your spouse is intentionally dragging their feet and delaying your divorce, it can leave you feeling frustrated, powerless, and stuck in limbo. However, there are options and steps you can take to move your divorce forward, even without your spouse’s cooperation.

Recognizing Stall Tactics

The first step is recognizing the common tactics used to stall a divorce. Your spouse likely won’t come right out and tell you they’re trying to delay the proceedings. Instead, you may notice certain evasive behaviors:

  • Avoiding being served the divorce papers or not showing up to be served
  • Repeatedly rescheduling meetings with attorneys at the last minute
  • Refusing to provide financial documents or other information needed for the divorce (a process called “discovery”)
  • Agreeing to terms and then going back on their word
  • Filing frivolous motions purely to slow down the process
  • Suddenly changing divorce lawyers
  • Not responding to calls, emails, or requests in a timely manner

If your spouse engages in this kind of foot-dragging despite your best efforts to communicate and cooperate, chances are they are deliberately trying to stall your divorce.

Common Reasons For Stall Tactics

There are a number of possible motivations behind divorce-stalling:

  • Power/Control – Your spouse may want the upper hand in negotiations by wearing you down. Delaying the divorce allows them to maintain control.
  • Financial Gain – Drawing things out could financially benefit them in some way, or allow them to hide assets.
  • Reconciliation – Your spouse may not want the divorce at all and hopes you’ll change your mind.
  • Revenge – Your spouse may simply want to punish you by dragging out the process and making it as difficult as possible.
  • Fear – Your spouse may have anxieties about losing financial stability, their home, or custody of children.

Regardless of the reasons why, you have options to proceed with your divorce even when facing intentional delays.

What You Can Do

First and foremost, be sure you have a good divorce lawyer representing you. Trying to handle stall tactics on your own will likely only result in more frustration. An experienced attorney has the knowledge and resources to respond effectively.Your lawyer can take proactive steps like:

  • Filing motions – For example, a motion requesting the court set a trial date. This puts pressure on the stalling spouse to participate.
  • Requesting sanctions – Your lawyer can file for sanctions if your spouse violates court orders. Financial penalties or even jail time can compel them to comply.
  • Seeking a default judgment – If your spouse won’t participate at all, your lawyer can request the divorce be finalized by default.
  • Organizing evidence – Your lawyer can investigate reasons behind the delays and build your case.
  • Negotiating – Your attorney can work with your spouse’s lawyer to push for resolution of outstanding issues.
  • Enforcing orders – Your lawyer can ensure any temporary orders for child custody, spousal support, etc. are followed.

You may also consider proposing mediation to identify mutual agreements, or writing a settlement offer yourself even before mediation to get communication going.

Protecting Yourself

While your lawyer addresses the stall tactics, you can take steps to protect yourself:

  • Document everything – Keep records of your spouse dodging service, skipping meetings, not complying with orders, etc.
  • Follow court orders – Be sure you adhere to all court orders so as not to give your spouse any counter-arguments.
  • Avoid retaliation – As frustrating as it is, resist retaliating with your own stall tactics. This will only escalate the situation.
  • Be proactive – Move things forward as much as possible on your end by staying organized, communicating politely with your spouse when possible, and promptly responding to your lawyer.
  • Focus on your needs – Don’t get overly bogged down in your spouse’s actions. Focus on making arrangements for your own finances, living situation, children, etc.
  • Stay calm – Try meditation, exercise, or other healthy activities to manage your stress. Don’t let your spouse’s actions get you worked up or discouraged.

Be Ready For A Lengthy Battle

If your spouse is determined to stall the divorce, you may be in for a lengthy battle. Cases involving intentional delays can drag on for many months or even years. It’s frustrating, but don’t give up. With your lawyer’s help, you can chip away at the stalling tactics little by little.Be prepared that your divorce may take longer than average. But don’t despair – it will get resolved eventually, and then you can move forward. Focus on building your new life even amidst the delays.And remember, you have the law on your side. No matter how stubborn your spouse is, they cannot stop your divorce entirely. Justice may be slow, but the court system is designed to prevent anyone from holding up a divorce forever.

Managing Your Stress

Getting stuck in a drawn-out divorce battle with an uncooperative spouse can really wear you down emotionally. Here are some tips to manage the stress:

  • Talk it out – Vent to supportive friends or family members. Avoid venting to your kids.
  • Consider counseling – A therapist can help you cope with the turbulence and anxiety.
  • Take breaks – Give yourself regular breaks from thinking about the divorce. Engage in hobbies you enjoy or spend time with friends.
  • Practice self-care – Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise. Don’t neglect yourself.
  • Try journaling – Writing about your feelings can be cathartic.
  • Join a support group – Connecting with others going through similar struggles can make you feel less alone.
  • Breathe! – When you feel overwhelmed, take some deep breaths to calm your nerves.

Establish Post-Divorce Boundaries

Once your divorce is finally settled, you’ll likely still need to co-parent with your ex-spouse, especially if you have kids together. Take steps to set healthy boundaries for these interactions moving forward:

  • Communicate through lawyers – Keep communication formal by going through your lawyers rather than directly contacting your ex.
  • Discuss kids only – Keep conversations focused just on parenting schedules and kids’ needs.
  • Meet in public – Opt for dropping kids off/picking them up in public spaces rather than private homes.
  • Involve others – Bring along a friend or family member when you have to interact with your ex.
  • Get it in writing – Document all agreements related to kids in writing rather than verbal agreements.
  • Be firm and civil – Set clear boundaries, but remain calm and polite in your interactions.

Life After Divorce

Although it may seem endless while you’re in the thick of it, the divorce process will eventually conclude. At that point, try to focus your energy on healing and moving forward with your new life. Here are some tips:

  • Make a fresh start – Consider relocating to a new home or city for a clean slate. Even redecorating can represent a fresh start.
  • Discover new activities – Pursue new hobbies, clubs, travel destinations, etc. that bring you happiness.
  • Spend time with supportive friends and family – Surround yourself with positive people who bring you up.
  • Be patient with yourself – Give yourself plenty of time to recover emotionally. Don’t expect to bounce back overnight.
  • Try counseling – A therapist can help you work through lingering grief, anger, or hurt.

In Conclusion

Having a spouse who stalls a divorce can certainly make the process far more miserable than it needs to be. However, there are many steps you and your lawyer can take to defend your rights, minimize delays, and ultimately get your divorce finalized. It takes patience and perseverance, but you’ll get there. With a combination of legal strategies and self-care, you can make it through this challenging circumstance.

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