How Many Times Can a Divorce Be Postponed?

Divorce can be difficult emotionally and legally. While an experienced divorce lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, can facilitate the process for you, unexpected issues may arise that postpone the proceedings. How many times can a divorce be postponed, and what should you do if you face a lengthy legal process?

The attorneys at Lincoln & Wenk, PLLC, explain some common reasons for divorce postponements and how they address these issues for their clients. Discover tips for navigating a timely divorce in this in-depth guide to keep a level head throughout this life-changing development.

Understanding Divorce Timelines

It can take six months to a year for a divorce to become final after a spouse first files the paperwork. This average timeline accounts for typical issues like splitting assets, meeting with lawyers and mediators, and working out child custody arrangements, if applicable. Divorces may finalize sooner if both spouses remain amicable and committed to dissolving their marriage without delay.

However, some divorce proceedings face delays of six months to a year, which can make for a long process that puts your life on hold. How many times can a divorce be postponed? The law doesn’t put an exact limit on the number of delays your case faces, though the court doesn’t favor cases that are postponed without good cause.

Divorce cases with conflict on both sides may stretch up to three years and have no end in sight. At this point, it’s worth reevaluating what’s important and working toward a compromise so both parties can move on with a fresh start. The court will often force divorcing couples to take action by dismissing the case or moving it forward rather than facing indefinite delays.

Why Spouses May Delay Divorce Proceedings

Divorce attorneys may encounter their client or the opposing spouse trying to delay the legal process so the divorce has no foreseeable conclusion. This usually has to do with one party’s interests, such as the following:

  • Pressuring their spouse to compromise on certain terms
  • Seeking maximum financial gain from marital assets
  • Hiding assets from their spouse
  • Reaching a support or child custody agreement that suits them

How many times can a divorce be postponed because one spouse is unhappy with the case? They may use tactics like requesting continuances, failing to sign paperwork, or switching attorneys to delay the process in the hopes of receiving what they want. If you’re looking for a straightforward divorce but your spouse refuses to cooperate, you need an attorney who will offer sound advice and work with the opposing counsel to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties.

Times When the Court Accepts Delayed Proceedings

Although the courts often frown on delayed divorce cases, there are some instances when they will accept your reasons for postponement as valid. You and your spouse must agree to these conditions to delay the legal process without issue.

You Try Reconciling

After stepping away from your marriage and filing for divorce, you might find that you want to try and make things work with your spouse. If they feel the same way, you could delay proceedings by trying to reconcile through marriage counseling. Reaching a decision to stay together or split up may take a few months of counseling, which the court can grant your case.

You Attempt Mediation

Financial discovery disputes often create conflicts in divorce proceedings and drag out the process. If you and your spouse decide to undergo mediation to settle any disputes, the court can grant your case a delay. This is the ideal way to make progress with your case and keep both parties happy with the outcome.

A Spouse Becomes Ill

Say you don’t have any financial disputes to mediate and don’t wish to reconcile. How can you delay your court proceedings without consequences, and how many times can a divorce be postponed? If your spouse suddenly becomes sick or injured and faces months of treatment and recovery, you both can agree to delay your proceedings until they’re healthy.

Common Reasons Behind Delayed Divorce Cases

The average divorce case can stretch beyond six months for several reasons. One or both spouses could be responsible for the delay, or the case may take a while to go before a judge because of external circumstances. Below is a breakdown of common reasons divorces face months-long delays.

Busy Courts

You and your partner could have trouble finalizing your divorce even if you both agree on assets and custody arrangements from the beginning. Backlogged courts could push your hearing date back several weeks or months. In this scenario, the only thing to do is remain patient and stick with your original plan to avoid further delays.

Clerical Errors

Every detail on divorce paperwork must be correct for the court to move forward with the case. If your paperwork has any type of error or omission, you’ll have to correct it before you can continue with the process. Keeping tabs on accuracy at periodic intervals throughout the process can help move things along.

Child Custody or Financial Disputes

One of the biggest reasons for lengthy divorce proceedings is couples who can’t agree on asset distribution and child custody arrangements. If children are involved, the parents may have to go through separate custody issues before moving forward with the divorce, including:

  • Custody evaluations
  • Mediation
  • Custody trials

Ongoing conflicts regarding finances also impact the answer to the question, “How many times can a divorce be postponed?” One spouse may delay hearings to request financial documentation or argue on child and spousal support payment amounts.

Change in Legal Representation

You or your spouse may decide to change your legal counsel midway through the proceedings. It can take some time for a new lawyer to catch up on the case so they can appropriately represent their client in court.

Repeated Continuances

Spouses may stall their divorce proceedings by requesting multiple continuances. These motions to change the court’s date could prolong the case for weeks or months.

Non-Compliance With Court Orders

One party may act in contempt of court by failing to adhere to court orders. Because of this, they will have to undergo enforcement hearings, which impacts the timeline for the divorce. Lawyers will advise their clients about the consequences of failing to follow court orders to prevent further issues.

How To Finalize a Divorce Quickly

Ask a legal professional, “How many times can a divorce be postponed?” and they’ll tell you that any number of incidents can prolong divorce proceedings by months or even years. If you want to avoid these delays and finalize the divorce within a normal timeline, it’s crucial to deploy the following tips:

  • Gather all necessary documentation: Conflicts when dividing financial assets remain one of the biggest causes of delayed divorce cases. Stay on schedule by getting all your financial documents in order early, including tax returns, credit card bills, bank statements, and more.
  • Request status conferences: You can have a judge schedule status conferences between hearings. These help both parties stay in the loop on where the case stands so they can move forward without issue.
  • Avoid filing motions: Don’t overwhelm the court with consistent motions that slow progress. These requests waste time and prolong the process.
  • Request temporary orders: If you’re having trouble establishing child and spousal support arrangements during the proceedings, a judge can grant a temporary order that takes care of this issue for the time being.
  • Remain flexible: Court hearings and mediation appointments might come up with little notice. Keep a flexible schedule to attend hearings as planned instead of postponing them and delaying the divorce.
  • Choose a capable attorney: In some instances, attorneys may make clerical errors that delay the process or fail to represent their clients with professionalism. Rather than changing counsel midway through the proceedings and causing a delay, hire a competent divorce attorney with years of experience and a proven track record.

Divorce cases often face conflict and delays when spouses aren’t willing to compromise or communicate clearly. Enter the process with a cooperative attitude and do everything possible to reach agreements quickly. Consider mediation if you have disputes to settle and don’t want to drag the case out in court.

Lawyers understand that this period can be stressful and emotional for their clients. Try to remain respectful during the proceedings and in how you communicate with your ex and your attorney. Prioritize self-care by getting plenty of sleep and minimizing stress, as this will help you stay in control of your emotions.

Contact the Qualified Lawyers at Lincoln & Wenk, PLLC, for Timely Divorce Proceedings

How many times can a divorce be postponed? What leads to one’s disqualification from alimony? For the answers to these questions and more, consult a knowledgeable divorce attorney at Lincoln & Wenk, PLLC.

As an experienced Arizona divorce and family law firm, we’re ready to help you navigate this difficult period. Turn to our legal professionals for assistance if you’re considering divorce and need representation. Call 623-294-2464 to request a consultation.

Call us at 623-294-2464 or contact us to schedule your consultation today.

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