When Your Ex Is Dragging Out Your Divorce
Once you know your marriage is irretrievably broken, you likely just want to move on with your life. That requires finalizing the divorce process and having the judge issue the divorce decree. But what happens if your spouse is prolonging the divorce process?
Under Kansas law, there is a 60-day waiting period between the day the divorce petition is filed and the day the court renders its judgment. Even if no one drags their feet, you can count on spending at least two months working through the divorce process. However, your divorce may be taking longer than you’d like if your spouse is not cooperating.
If you live in Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Leawood, Prairie Village, Shawnee, or anywhere in Johnson County, Kansas, Jeffers Law Office can help. There are ways to stall during divorce, but there are also ways to keep the process moving.
Common Divorce Stalling Tactics
The tactics a spouse may use to stall a divorce usually begin as soon as the petition for divorce is filed. The respondent to the petition may take every step possible to avoid being served a copy of the petition as required by law.
In Kansas, the respondent to the divorce petition has 21 days to file a response with the court. If they do not, the petitioner can ask the court to enter a default judgment, which typically grants the petitioner everything they requested. However, most judges want to give the respondent time to provide their side of the divorce. Therefore, they will allow extra time while the respondent claims they need more time to find a lawyer, and draft and file an answer.
Ignoring filing deadlines and avoiding formal service of pleadings and discovery requests are key stalling tactics. So are:
Making false or misleading claims about the other spouse to gain the court’s sympathy;
Failing to provide all requested information and documentation;
Not signing documents as required;
Changing divorce attorneys repeatedly;
Making claims of ineffective counsel and ignoring the advice and counsel of their attorney;
Filing unnecessary motions, including extension requests; and,
Missing appointments and court hearings.
Reasons a Spouse May Want to Stall the Divorce
There are several potential reasons why a spouse may drag out the divorce process. Anger is often a key motivation, as is revenge. Even if your spouse knows the marriage is over, they may want to “get back” at you.
Assets may also be the reason they are dragging their feet. Your spouse may want time to hide assets so they will not be subject to division in divorce. They may also be worried that they will lose financial stability in the divorce and want to avoid it finalizing for as long as possible. For example, if your spouse continues to live in the marital home during the divorce process and knows the home will be sold once it is finalized, they may take steps to stall the process.
Stalling is a common negotiating tactic in business and in court. Your spouse may be counting on you to “give in” to demands so you can finalize the divorce. Such demands could include the paying or receipt of spousal support during and following divorce.
Some of the most contentious and emotionally charged aspects of divorce involve child custody and child support. Your spouse may stall the process to gain an advantage over you or, again, to make you give in to their demands to get on with your life.
Tips for Keeping the Divorce on Track
There are a few tips for keeping your divorce on track. The best tip is to hire an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you. An attorney does not just know the law, but they also recognize stalling tactics and how to mitigate them.
If your spouse is resentful of the court process, you can try mediation or request a settlement conference with the judge in chambers rather than open court.
If your spouse continues to miss appointments and is unresponsive to the process, there are legal remedies. If you file formal requests with the court, the judge can sanction your spouse, impose fines, and compel them to respond. The court can also require your spouse to pay the additional fees you may need to pay your attorney for delays and mediators for time wasted by your spouse.
How an Attorney Can Help
Perhaps the best way your divorce attorney can help is to help you pick your battles. There will be some concessions and accommodations you can make to demonstrate to the court that you are being reasonable. At the same time, you do not want to give up more than you should just to prompt your spouse’s cooperation.
If your spouse is stalling your divorce, the attorney at Jeffers Law Office in Overland Park, Kansas, will work to get things back on track. Attorney Mark Jeffers has been helping clients through divorce for more than 40 years. Contact Jeffers Law Office today if you need legal assistance in Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Prairie Village, or anywhere else in Johnson County.