5 Things That Cause Delays To a Divorce
Table Of Contents
What causes delays in a divorce?
Aside from the pandemic, there are various issues that can lead to delays in the divorce process, including:
1. Acknowledgement of service not returned
One of the first steps in getting a divorce is for one divorcing party to complete a matrimonial order which essentially comprises the divorce application.
Once this has been submitted and approved, the court will send a copy to the other spouse along with an ‘acknowledgment of service’ form, who must respond within 14 days.
If the form is not returned – whether intentionally or not – this can lead to delays in obtaining a divorce.
2. Locating an ex-spouse when you don’t have an address
In order for the court to send out an acknowledgment of service form, the person submitting the matrimonial order must include the address of their spouse.
In the case of an acrimonious divorce – or where there has been a long period of separation – the relevant address might not be known.
Reasonable efforts should be made to find out the address but, if this proves fruitless, it may be possible for the court to still proceed with the divorce.
Further information on how to divorce a missing spouse can be found on our blog to ensure you have all of the information you need.
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3. Arguments arising about the allegations in the divorce petition
Whist thus used to cause delays to divorce proceedings, it’s no longer an issue as no-fault divorce no longer supports unreasonable behaviour as grounds for divorce.
Although a reason for divorce must be specified in the divorce petition there is now only one ‘ground for divorce’ (irretrievable breakdown of the marriage).
4. Complex financial negotiations
In general, the fewer assets the more straightforward the divorce.
Where either spouse has significant assets, this can result in complicated and protracted financial negotiations.
For example, it can take a long time to ascertain the full extent of any assets tied up in business or hidden in complex trusts.
Reaching an agreement on the distribution of large assets can end up in court which adds delays of several months.
5. Rising costs of divorce lawyers
The longer it takes to reach a divorce settlement agreement, the more both parties need to spend on lawyers.
This can end up depleting the matrimonial pot.
Rising legal costs can further entrench the positions of either spouse, in a cycle that leads to even higher costs and further delays.
What else can cause delays in a divorce?
Couples can now apply for a divorce together through what is known as a joint application for divorce.
This sounds great in practice, but when it comes to going through the process it’s not uncommon for one spouse to be less efficient than the other.
Doing a joint application means that both parties must tell the court they are happy to continue at various stages.
If your ex-partner decides they no longer want to cooperate or respond to the court, you have to apply to the court to take it over yourself, which causes delays.
No-Fault Divorce Is Now Divorce Law
The divorce law in England and Wales has changed to give way for a no-fault divorce. This means you no longer need to wait for a period of 2 years of separation or blame one party for the breakdown of your marriage. What’s more, it is no longer possible for your spouse to contest the divorce, allowing the divorce to proceed without friction or additional costs.
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