5 Ways to Unintentionally Delay Your Own Divorce

The average divorce in the U.S. can take months and sometimes longer than a year. While there are certain areas of your divorce that you will not be able to control, such as the court’s schedule, there are things you might do that can stretch your divorce proceedings out for longer than necessary.

Not Preparing to Make the Agreements

Before you begin to create divorce agreements with your spouse by meeting them directly or via your respective attorneys, you should already know what you are prioritizing and what you’re not willing to negotiate on. If you go into negotiations without any idea of what you want, it will make reaching a resolution extremely difficult. Additionally, while being unwilling to negotiate or compromise can sometimes be appropriate, it is important to be flexible on certain issues while being firm on others. Knowing which issues to “dig in” on is something to discuss and work with your attorney on.

Take some time to consider what is really important to you, including property. All your debts and assets will be divided in the divorce, so it is important to consider what you want to keep and what you don’t. If you and your spouse have children, think about how you want to approach parenting time and support.

Doing It on Your Own

One common mistake people make in divorce is representing themselves. While you may believe it can save you some money, you could end up paying more in the long run in a variety of ways. You’ll have to try to tackle all elements of the legal process, including paperwork, and make sure you understand all the laws applicable in your case. If the other party has an attorney, you will likely have a very hard time getting what you want.

Instead of wasting time and potentially making costly mistakes, you can work with an attorney who is familiar with family law in Albuquerque, New Mexico instead. This way, you have access to help and legal advice throughout your divorce.

Not Considering Your Attorney’s Advice

Your attorney has been through this before and has likely seen many cases like yours or at least similarities. Therefore, they are going to be able to offer you advice and information that comes from their experience and legal and court system knowledge. While it can be difficult to hear advice during an emotionally-charged event such as a divorce, keep in mind that the attorney is offering you options and guidance for your best interests. This advice is based on their knowledge of the law and experiences litigating various issues.

Changing Your Mind After Making an Agreement

Once you have a written agreement, you typically cannot change the agreement without the other party’s consent. Therefore it’s extremely important that you make clear to your New Mexico family law attorney what you want or don’t want so a proper solution can be crafted. You will not be able to change your mind after signing any agreements. If you change your mind before signing, the negotiation process will need to begin again.

To avoid this, have a plan going into the negotiations and make sure you are ready to compromise where you can. While the idea of compromising may be a tough one to wrap your mind around, there will be areas where compromising will help you get an item on your priority list.

Not Trying Mediation in Good Faith

A divorce trial will take considerably more time and money than you and your spouse coming to an agreement without the court’s intervention. Additionally, when you go to trial in a divorce, you are risking that the things that are important to you will be decided by someone who does not know you. It is always preferable to avoid the risk of an adverse ruling and negotiate the issues where you can. You may not be able to sit down with your spouse and hash out agreements on your own, but you can work with a mediator or settlement faciliator who will act as a neutral party and help you and your spouse negotiate. You and your spouse can still each have your own attorneys during these sessions.

Of course, this may not be possible for everyone, especially those spouses who are unable to constructively communicate or agree on anything. However, negotiations should always be the first option even when you feel like there is no chance you can reach an agreement. It is our experience that, more often than not, even extremely contentious divorces can be resolved amicably. It is required that parties submitting to mediation or settlement facilitation negotiate in “good faith.” What “good faith” means is that you actually try to come to an agreement, don’t lie or act in such a way that would prevent an agreement from taking place.

A divorce timeline is never going to be fully under your control. However, if you are mindful of the ways you might contribute to its length, you can act to avoid unnecessary delays.