One of the most common questions family law attorneys hear is “Why is my divorce taking so long?” The answer is, it depends. Even if you and your spouse believe you’re being cooperative and prompt, you may be unintentionally doing things that are prolonging the process. There are a number of reasons your divorce can drag out. Often, no one person is to blame and it’s a combination of factors causing the delay.
Here are some reasons your divorce can carry on too long:
1. Listening to Advice from the Wrong People. Your friends and family are a good source of support during your divorce, but taking their advice on how to handle it is almost never a good idea. If they tell you things like “my friend took her husband for everything he had,” or “don’t settle for less than the house and the pension,” they may be unintentionally setting you up for digging in your heels over what you “deserve.” No two divorce cases are the same, and much of what goes on is mandated by California law. It’s best to seek the advice of a competent family law attorney who will help you set realistic expectations.
2. Misinterpreting What Your Attorney Says. Like listening to advice from family and friends, you may interpret what your attorney tells you as a guarantee of how your divorce will go. Divorce attorneys gather all relevant information about your marriage and then, based on their experience, give you a general assessment of what may happen. Divorce is an emotional time and you may have the tendency to hear only what you want to hear. If you’re convinced your divorce can only go the way you think it should, you could end up with a financially and emotionally draining litigation on your hands.
3. Keeping Secrets from Your Attorney. Your attorney is there to help guide you through a stressful time, but needs your cooperation to do so. If you’re afraid that disclosing something to your attorney – say a hidden bank account – will work against you, you’re right, but not in the way you think. If your spouse finds out about the account before the divorce is final, you destroy your credibility with your attorney and the court. You also suffer financially, as your lawyer must work double time to try and make the most of a bad situation. Honesty is the best policy.
4. Involving Children Too Soon. The ideal way to handle discussing the divorce with your children is to come up with a plan together beforehand. If one parent tells the children without the other, the children may feel forced to take sides. The slighted parent may unconsciously become combative due to feelings of resentment. Most divorcing parents can amicably work out a compromise regarding child custody and support issues. You increase your chances of a friendly agreement if you’re both willing to work together and do what’s best for your children.
5. Believing that Feelings are Facts. Try not to let your emotions get the best of you. Divorces have a way of bringing out all the emotional triggers of a marriage. Couples can argue about assets, bills, custody schedules, or document requests. Is your spouse really being unreasonable, or do you just refuse to give in to his or her demands? A divorce is a legal process, but letting your emotions rule can have long-term effects on your family’s future.
The best divorce is one that is settled quickly and fairly. An experienced and qualified California family law attorney can help you stay on track and avoid any unnecessary delays.