This article is designed to give some insight on how to handle a stalled divorce. The divorce process is often a difficult one and can be filled with many stumbling blocks. All too often, the divorce gets stalled due to a number of factors, perhaps emotional, perhaps financial. The divorce process may take several months or longer to complete. When the couple reaches an impasse, the divorce could take much more time. The process could be stalled until the couple can reach an agreement that is agreeable to both parties. A stalled divorce can take a toll on the family and can significantly increase the cost of the proceedings.
Identify the Major Issues
A divorce often slows due to disagreements regarding the settlement terms. It could be just one thing that is keeping the couple from an agreement. All too often, one person digs in his or her heels on one particular issue, making it impossible to continue. When this happens, the process can come to a halt. It is best, whenever possible, to identify the major “hot button” issues as quickly as possible and address them rather than allow them to fester.
Lower the Emotional Level
Emotions are tied very closely to the issues of the divorce. The couple knows how to push each other’s buttons and may be doing so, sometimes without even being aware of it. It is easy for those who are not closely involved in the divorce to give you advice, but it can be difficult to apply it. Try to remove your emotions from the equation and look at the obstacle with new eyes. This could bring a different perspective and a breakthrough resolution.
Participate in Good Faith
When one or both parties fail to cooperate in the process of a divorce and instead focus on making it more difficult for the other party, it can bring the matter to a screeching halt. Parties should follow the rules of mandatory disclosure and follow the recommendations of their attorneys with respect to engaging in appropriate discovery, responding to or making settlement offers, and other procedural matters.
Compromise Is Essential
Compromise between former spouses is not always easy, but it is essential in most divorces. Remember that the assets and property that were acquired during the marriage are generally considered marital property and are owned jointly. A settlement between the two parties must be equitable. When you know that a dispute is likely, discuss the problem with your attorney, who may be able to preempt the dilemma and avert a stall.
Seek Professional Assistance
Those who are not able to come to a satisfactory compromise may need to get help from a professional. Your divorce attorney is your ally and will always work on your behalf to try to resolve the problem while protecting your rights. When a situation is seriously at a stalemate, it may be helpful to seek mediation. A mediator is a professional third party who is specifically trained to assist couples resolve problematic differences.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding How to Handle a Stalled Divorce, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.