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What if my attorney is dragging out the divorce?

November 7, 2016 Blog

Here’s a great article by Steve Raiser, a fellow NYC and Los Angeles attorney who does personal injury and criminal defense.

Divorces can be long and frustrating experiences when they are complicated or highly contested. There are many factors that can be part of a divorce agreement, with child custody and financial matters often being at the center. However, there are also other reasons that divorces can get dragged out, including intentional delays instigated by either spouse’s attorney for various reasons. This is common when a divorce finalization is being negotiated, and especially when the primary reasons for a hold out are financial. And, in some states like New York where legal separation is allowed, the goal of either attorney may be to eventually convince their client that a legal separation may be the best interim step. A formal legal separation gives the spouses two years to reach a final decision on whether to divorce, and also includes the option for either spouse to file for a “no fault” divorce after the time period is expired. Of course, this can work to be the benefit of the attorneys because it means more billable hours when the divorce option is chosen by one spouse at the expiration of the separation agreement. This tends to be a tactic of many large law firms that are focused on cash flow generation and not necessarily focused on a final divorce agreement. Having an experienced personal New York divorce attorney can ensure this delay will be stopped or never even occur.

Focus of Your Attorney

The focus of many divorcing couples is often getting the divorce over so they can move on with their life to a certain degree. For many divorcing couples, it actually means the power to marry again. However, the job of the attorney is to negotiate a divorce decree that protects the interests of the dependent children and their clients with regards to equitable distribution of property and financial stability following the divorce. Impatience on the part of either divorcing spouse could result in a final agreement that is in favor of the contesting spouse. When both spouses are in a hurry to settle the issue it can move much more quickly. But, your attorney may be having difficulty negotiating a proper agreement, especially when one spouse has more significant personal property holdings they do not want to lose. In New York, divorces are granted by the state according to reasons, and each case must qualify. Some divorce cases can result in increased alimony payments based on certain case factors, but these cases are also often strongly defended and can be difficult when reaching an agreement. The reasons for the delay may not be your attorney.

Mediation and Communication

When couples are agreeable to a divorce and still are communicating on some level of civility, it is possible to itemize all outstanding problems and make a reasonable offer for reconciled settlement. This is especially true when there are dependent children involved as well. Parents tend to evaluate the impact on children as a result of a divorce with diligence, and many times this connection can help all parties involved. Actually, custody of the children and devising a feasible parenting plan is very often the ultimate problem in a divorce finalization. Even when a divorce is still in the legal process, it is still acceptable for the divorcing couple to reach an informal personal agreement for submission to the court when attorneys are purposely delaying a divorce finalization. Many times this can be done while changing attorneys for a quicker ruling, immediately requesting mediation meetings before the court issues an arbitrary ruling. Married couples who act like children during a divorce process usually get treated like children by the court when they are required to make a final determination on issues the couple could have easily settled personally. Choosing an experienced New York private practice divorce attorney who has a track record of solid results for their clients can be a major step forward, especially when you explain the prior and existing problems, along with a reasonable time frame for a final resolution.



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