Divorce cases are well-known for taking a long time to resolve. While sometimes it is unavoidable, in other instances there may be steps that can be taken to keep the case moving forward when one side seems to be unnecessarily delaying. Attorneys can be complicit in allowing delays which is why it is important to speak regularly with your lawyer about how your case is progressing, why your divorce has stalled if that is the case, and what can be done to fix it.
Often during the divorce process, the parties will come to an agreement on small issues. One side may concede a point and the parties then enter into a temporary stipulation. This can go on for months over different issues with neither attorney forcing the larger disputes to go before a judge. While delays are fine if the parties are legitimately negotiating a settlement, it is not useful if these nonessential discussions keep the case in court for an extended period. Lengthy litigation is expensive and time-consuming with no benefit to either party.
If you feel that your divorce case is stalling, talk to your attorney about these next steps:
- Child custody. If custody disputes are not getting resolved in a reasonable time, you can ask the judge to appoint an attorney for your child and order a forensic investigation. This process often reveals the weaknesses in both parents’ positions, which can encourage settlement. If you still cannot settle, the judge will decide the matter at trial taking into account the evaluation made by your child’s attorney and the forensic psychologist.
- Child or spousal support. You can file an application with the court asking for a final determination of support and a budget. This forces the matter before the judge and eliminates useless delaying tactics by the other side.
- Property distribution. Where the dispute over the distribution of the marital assets involves an active asset, like a business or professional practice, you can ask the court to appoint a business valuator. This person appraises the business for the purposes of determining how it will be divided. For passive assets, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, you can ask the court to set a trial date to decide the matter.
Ideally, both sides should be working to settle the case. If that is not happening, then the next step is to get the case to a judge as quickly as possible. Endless delays are costly and keep the parties from moving forward in their lives.
If you are considering divorce or your divorce has stalled, contact us today to discuss how we can help you find the best resolution to your divorce issues.