As we discussed in a recent blog post, Virginia law requires spouses to be separated for about one year before they can file for divorce. During that time, spouses must live separately.
This generally gives both spouses time to get used to the idea of getting a divorce, but there are still many cases where spouses are not on the same page. Some spouses may still be angry and strongly disagree with the idea of getting a divorce. In some cases, this might lead some to try and stall the divorce.
What are the signs a spouse is stalling the divorce?
Each individual’s reasons for stalling a divorce could be different. They might do so out of anger at their spouse or in fear of what the future holds. And while these situations can be rare, individuals should be aware of the most common signs their spouse is stalling the divorce, so they can take action to keep things moving.
The three most common strategies spouses use to stall a divorce include:
- Avoiding all communication: Even if spouses are not on good terms, getting a divorce often requires a significant amount of communication and negotiation, as challenging as it may be. A spouse who is trying to delay the divorce will often avoid communicating with their spouse at all costs by not answering phone calls, text messages or even emails from an attorney. This may even extend to the spouse avoiding and rescheduling mediation or negotiation sessions by claiming health issues or other conflicts repeatedly.
- Refusing to hand over documents: A spouse might also stall the divorce by prolonging the discovery process. They might deny handing over any critical documents, such as important financial information needed to negotiate property division.
- Filing unnecessary motions: Commonly known as “vexatious litigation,” this is when spouses continually file motions against their spouse out of spite to frustrate them. For example, a spouse might falsely claim they suffered domestic violence to obtain custody of the children and prolong the divorce process. This may also include refusing to participate in divorce proceedings.
Thankfully, individuals have plenty of options to handle spouses stalling the divorce, such as imposing sanctions, but most of these cases require the help of an experienced attorney. The family law attorneys at Bowen Ten Long & Bal, PC, can help individuals facing stalling tactics to get their divorce moving again, so they can get started on the next chapter of their life.