The Long and Winding Road to Divorce
The stress, negotiations, and legal discussions around divorce all contribute to a process that can take many years. For up to 11.6% of the Michigan population divorced last year, many had divorce proceedings that dragged on and on. Many people wonder. Why does divorce take so long?
The two main players in a divorce have to balance their emotions to make proceedings more efficient and amiable. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Even in the most civil divorce proceedings, or “conscious uncoupling” as some people call it, there is still a lot of emotional upheavals and stress to deal with.
Competing emotions can delay divorce significantly, especially when couples are aggressive towards each other. If one person feels slighted by their former partner, there can be an urge to take back an “eye for an eye.” They’ll file petitions and make motions almost to punish their former partner when it comes to the division of assets and liabilities. People who feel victimized by the relationship will want the divorce to happen on their terms without any compromise.
Heightened feelings can make divorce parties less cooperative to the point of stonewalling each other or delaying agreements to the last possible moment. Fighting takes a long time.
Even when the relationship ended less aggressively, both partners still need to deal with emotional trauma. The realization that the marriage is truly over can lead people to drag their feet as they process the new information. Others can become less cooperative when they realize they are being backed into a corner without any choice.
Until both parties are genuinely ready to take control of themselves and their emotions, divorce proceedings are likely to keep going at a snail’s pace.
Built-in Delays in Divorce Proceedings
The state has a long-term interest in keeping marriages together. It’s seen as a privilege granted to couples. As such, the state wants people to be absolutely certain when it comes to divorce.
As such, there are several built-in delays designed to give people time to reflect and reconsider the divorce. Partners can be required separation time before they can file for divorce, or there can be a mandatory break before finalization. Everyone has to wait for the protected period to be over.
Divorce can’t be finalized in one day or a week. Every step requires some time allowance. If you file a motion in court, you need to give advanced notice that you will be presenting to the other party, and they will have time to respond. The court hearing date itself may be many months away, depending on the availability of schedule.
Clarifying Information and Finances
Finances, such as money or physical assets, are one of the most contentious parts of a divorce. They can also be the most time-consuming to deal with.
Partners, for one reason or the other, can refuse or be very slow in producing needed financial information. Some shared assets may also require external valuation by expertise. The expertise might need to go through records, historical data, and research before coming up with a value.
Divorcees will also need to go through tax advice on stocks, bonds, and other investments.
The prolonged length of time spent in figuring out divorce can also be a strategic choice. First of all, the time spent negotiating details and finalizing the proceedings can serve as an adjustment period for children. Instead of abruptly changing their context, divorce proceedings can provide a background for their transition into a new life.
The divorce proceedings can also take place while you take the time to sell your shared home on the market. Unemployed spouses who were previously supported by the other can take the time to look for their source of income.
Finally, the long road to divorce helps in buffering the emotional trauma for everyone involved. With more time to think, divorce can be more amicable.
Some Divorce Lawyers Use Delay Tactics. Not Us!
Another surprising reason for prolonged divorce proceedings would be divorce lawyers. In many cases, divorce attorneys would want a longer and more protracted divorce so that they get paid more by the hour. This type of lawyer might even intentionally fuel the conflict.
Fortunately, more divorce lawyers think about the interests of the parties involved instead. Here at The Clark Law Office, we put our clients first. Our Lansing divorce attorneys are ethically obliged to help divorce proceedings be resolved in the fastest and most favorable way possible.