Should You Delay Divorce to Accommodate a Difficult Spouse?

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If you’ve exhausted efforts to save your marriage and you’re sure you want to divorce, is there a good or bad time to initiate divorce? Some spouses try to time the divorce, particularly if they believe the other spouse will react badly to being served with divorce papers. There isn’t necessarily an optimal moment to start a divorce but there are factors to consider.

How Will Your Spouse React to Receiving Divorce Papers?

Divorce is stressful even when both parties are in agreement. If your spouse doesn’t want to divorce, then any time you serve papers will go badly. However, you may want to wait if something is going on that makes the timing particularly difficult. Giving your spouse time to cool off or address another issue that is causing problems may be for the best. Announcing divorce in the middle of an already chaotic situation could cause your spouse to be more uncooperative or delay the divorce. Thus, it is advisable to discuss when and how you will start the divorce with your spouse, wherever possible.

How Long Should You Delay Divorce?

You don’t want to delay for long periods, since your spouse may continue to be antagonistic. Filing also allows you to start moving forward in your life. You also want to file for divorce quickly because it cuts off your spouse’s access to your income, absent him or her filing for spousal and child support. This helps ensure that your spouse cannot claim a share of your income from stock options and other benefits. With that said, keep in mind that the length of time permanent spousal support would be paid is dependent upon the length of your marriage. 

Can You Start the Divorce But Wait to Serve Your Spouse?

A good option may be to start the divorce action by filing in court but not serve your spouse right away. In New York, you have 120 days from the date you file to serve papers on your spouse. This gives you a window during which you can try to identify the best time to inform your spouse. In the interim, your spouse won’t be entitled to your income with some exceptions.

Should You Tell Your Spouse You Are Filing For Divorce?

It’s usually best to discuss divorce with your spouse before you file for it because you don’t want it to be a surprise. Springing a divorce on your spouse will usually make things more difficult and start your divorce process on a very negative note. Even if you anticipate problems in announcing a divorce, it’s better to discuss and deliver the news in person than receive a document from a process server.

If you are considering a divorce, talk with us about your concerns regarding your spouse’s reaction and get advice on how to handle the situation. We have extensive experience helping clients through the difficult process of divorce. Contact us for a consultation to learn how we assist you in achieving a positive outcome in your divorce.

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