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Specialty tag(s): Divorce for Women, Divorce for Men, Pre-Divorce Guidance, Divorce

Intentionally Delaying Divorce: How and For How Long Can a Spouse Drag Out the Process?

Jack Wall | March 28, 2024

woman sitting on couch, waiting. Husband in background

Divorces often take six months or more to complete. Your spouse may intentionally do things that make your case go on for longer than it should. One must understand how long they can delay the divorce process and what tactics they may use.

Things to Keep in Mind

Even if your spouse is intentionally delaying the divorce, the nature of your case and the legal requirements for divorce can also cause delay.

If your case involves complex issues, your case may go on for longer than you want. Divorces involving children take longer to resolve than those without children because the parties need to address issues regarding custody and child support. Also, the nature and extent of the properties may warrant discovery and business valuations. These issues, along with others, can prolong your case.

Although frustrating, these issues require time to resolve. You want to get it right the first time. It is important to approach these issues with discipline and precision to ensure the future well-being of yourself and your children.

Even if you and your spouse quickly resolve these issues, you have to wait at least 60 days from the filing of the divorce petition before the court will grant a divorce. Section 6.702 of the Texas Family Code mandates this 60-day waiting period. It is unavoidable absent exceptional circumstances, such as family violence.

Delaying Divorce Tactics Your Spouse May Use

In addition to the above-mentioned causes of delay, your spouse may cause it too. Their reasons for delaying may include financial gain, spite, or a desire for the marriage to continue.

Delay tactics to look out for include:

  • Changing lawyers
  • Consistently rescheduling meetings
  • Avoiding service of court papers
  • Not signing documents
  • Filing unnecessary motions
  • Making false accusations

How to Respond to Delays

There are many ways you can respond to your spouse’s delay tactics.

The most common option is to file a request to set a definite trial date.This option gives both sides a clear-cut date on which they need to be ready to resolve the case. A clear-cut date often encourages meaningful settlement discussions.

The caveat is that you would have to give your spouse at least 45 days’ notice in advance of the trial date. The reason is to give both sides enough time to prepare for trial. Although 45 days seems like a long time, filing this request will at least move the case forward.

Other options can include requesting a scheduling order from the court, proposing mediation, or sending early settlement offers.

If none of these options work, you may have no other option than to head to trial.

How Long Can a Spouse Drag Out a Divorce?

It depends. The 60-day waiting period and the complexity of the issues already drag out the process. Delay tactics by your spouse could delay the divorce even longer. You would need an experienced divorce attorney to explore your options.

Work With a Skilled Divorce Lawyer at Goranson Bain Ausley

The answer to how long a spouse can drag out a divorce varies from case to case, but you can help to move things along by working with an experienced divorce attorney, who can explain your legal options and the process involved to help you navigate this difficult time more effectively. Being proactive, seeking legal advice, and understanding the motivations behind the delays can help expedite the process.

The divorce lawyers at Goranson Bain Ausley are familiar with these delay tactics and have a wealth of experience countering them. We can help get you the resolution you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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About The Author

As an associate at Goranson Bain Ausley, Jack actively assists clients in prioritizing their most important concerns, empathetically listens to their stories, and advocates on their behalf from both practical and empathetic viewpoints. Before his role as an associate, Jack served as a law clerk at GBA for two summers. He is an alumnus of Baylor University School of Law, a prestigious institution renowned for its litigation program, where he earned a full scholarship from the Del Sampels Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund in Law. Jack’s area of focus includes marital property division, litigation, and protecting the interests of children.

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