Why does divorce take so long? Great question. First things first, not every divorce is slower than molasses running uphill in the winter. Depending on your situation and how amicable you and your spouse choose to be, your family lawyer could have you divorced a lot faster than you think. But yes, for many people, the process could still take up to a year or longer.
And why is that? What holds up the divorce process? Let’s take a look at a few reasons:
The judicial process is not fast
A divorce case in Texas – contested or not – cannot even be ruled on by a judge for at least 60 days after the petition is filed. Your divorce simply can’t move faster than that. This is what is called a waiting period, and there is really no way to get around it unless your case involves domestic violence. On top of that, if your case goes to trial, you may have to wait to get on the court’s calendar, which could already be full. From there, how long a case takes depends on the complexity of the issues – custody rights for the children, alimony, division of personal or real property, division of assets, various motions that may or may not be filed, and the degree of difficulty for the case.
Emotions and stubbornness
Simply put: the more you fight, the longer it takes to get divorced. Maybe it’s your spouse who’s dragging his feet when it comes to signing the divorce papers, or it’s your stubbornness over who gets which stuff. It could also be that neither of you can stand to be in the same room together and won’t give an inch on even the smallest decisions in an attempt to walk away on your terms. It’s natural to get frustrated, show emotion, and feel the need to protect yourself during this difficult period. We get it. But as long as one or both sides are deadlocked in constant fighting, the case will drag on.
Sorting through even the smallest financial situation can be time-consuming. Most of the time, though, couples have complicated finances. This can include a house, pension, stocks, bonds, investments, and even a joint business. In some cases, it’s wise to call in an expert or two for proper valuation of property, which also takes time. Another side to the financial piece is that one or both spouses may not have the means to pay for a divorce right away. As more work goes into the process, the higher the legal fees become. This creates unforeseen expenses you may not be able to handle.
A divorce process really begins when a couple starts thinking about it, and that’s a personal trial in and of itself. I’ve said this time and time again, but divorce is a big decision and should not be rushed into. Couples should seek out as much information as they can – and take as much time as they need – BEFORE heading down that path. That includes time spent visiting with the right lawyer and/or marriage counselor to see if the marriage can be saved. If it cannot be saved, and you have done your due diligence, you need time to ask questions about what to expect. Important questions include how your children will be affected and other matters like the ones mentioned above.
You’re not prepared
Not having the right documents put together — many of which can be compiled by you to limit the amount of heavy lifting your lawyer has to do — can make your divorce drag on. What many people do is they create a divorce checklist and start getting all their ducks in a row from the very beginning.
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My hope is for you and your spouse to realize that the difficulties you face in marriage are also an opportunity to grow. It may be painful right now, but see it through. If you can’t, and you truly feel that divorce is the answer, please know upfront that divorce is a process and will likely take time to work through. When it comes to any legal dispute, it is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your situation.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this – or any other – issue.
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