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How do I delay a contested divorce?

Going through a divorce can be an extremely difficult and emotional time. When the divorce is contested, meaning you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, the process tends to take longer and can become contentious. You may wish to delay the divorce for financial reasons, to work on the marriage, or to avoid a lengthy court battle. While there are no surefire ways to delay a divorce indefinitely, there are some strategies you can try to potentially buy some time.

One of the most effective ways to delay a contested divorce is to request your case go to mediation. Mediation is a process where you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party to try to come to an agreement on the divorce terms. Requesting mediation can potentially delay the divorce proceedings for a few months or longer, depending on the mediator’s schedule. If you are able to come to an agreement through mediation, you may be able to avoid going to court altogether. Even if mediation is ultimately unsuccessful, the process itself will have caused your divorce case to take longer than if you had immediately gone to court.

Alternatively, you can request your case go through collaborative divorce, which is a process where you and your spouse work with specially trained collaborative attorneys to negotiate the divorce terms outside of court. Like mediation, collaborative divorce can add several months to the timeline, increasing the likelihood that you and your spouse might reconcile in that time period.

Drawing out the discovery process is another technique for delaying a contested divorce case. Discovery refers to the exchange of information and evidence between you and your spouse. You can prolong this process by frequently asking for extensions, slowly providing requested documents, and objecting to discovery demands. This can frustrate your spouse and hold up the divorce proceedings.

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Finally, switching attorneys mid-way through the proceedings can also cause significant delays. Each time you switch counsel, your new attorney will need time to get up to speed on your case. This can add weeks or months to the timeline, buying you more time before the divorce is finalized. However, be aware that switching attorneys multiple times may aggravate the judge, so use this strategy sparingly.

While you ultimately may not be able to stop a contested divorce entirely, strategic techniques like mediation requests, drawn out discovery, and attorney switches can potentially delay the process by months or longer. This added time may provide a chance for you and your spouse to reconcile or come to an agreement, avoiding an expensive and lengthy court battle. Consult with your divorce attorney to determine if any of these delay tactics are appropriate for your specific situation.

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