How long can a divorce be put on hold?

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How long can a divorce be put on hold?

Clock and whiteboard on a table with notebooksThe divorce process can be complex for so many different reasons and putting the divorce on hold or understanding how long a divorce can be put on hold is necessary to understand, as sometimes this can make the process easier for the parties to manage.

Sometimes there is delay because one person is intentionally delaying a divorce. This could be because they do not want the divorce or believe that they can gain control but putting pressure on the other party.

At times, an automatic stay can delay the divorce process. An automatic stay is a provision available in bankruptcy matters where family courts must stop divorce proceedings to permit one or both parties to resolve any pending issues in bankruptcy court before moving forward with the divorce proceedings.

Can you pause a divorce after filing?

Yes, parties can pause a divorce after filing. If they jointly agree to do so, they can request permission from the court to place the matter on the inactive calendar for a period of time.  If the parties agree that they both want to put the divorce on hold, they can sign a stipulation of dismissal, dismissing the matter without losing the right to refile in the event that they choose to do so at some point in the future.

Oftentimes, the backlog of the New Jersey Court system causes delay in the divorce proceedings. Putting a divorce on hold may not be an intentional step but the unfortunate consequence of the high volume of family law cases pending in the state of New Jersey, and an ongoing problem with having enough judges available to handle the matters due to being understaffed.

In other circumstances, people make a choice to pause a divorce after filing, perhaps at the prospect of reconciliation.

How many times can a divorce be postponed?

There is not a court rule limiting the number of times that parties can agree to putting a divorce on hold; however, generally judges do not look favorably upon excessive delays without an appropriate basis to do so. Judges have a significant amount of discretion and can implement Orders to ensure that putting divorce on hold is not being used as a delay tactic in divorce. Judges have full discretion over how many times a divorce can be postponed.

How long can a divorce case stay open?

Sometimes the nature of the case requires that cases remain pending for a significant period of time. Complex cases, particularly those that involve custody, may often take longer.

In order to avoid intentionally delaying divorce, courts can implement temporary orders to ensure that all parties are cooperating and acting appropriately as the case is pending.

Sometimes delay can be caused if a person is changing attorneys during the divorce or if one party is not represented by counsel during the divorce process.

There are certain aspects of the divorce, such as the discovery process, that can take longer than other aspects of the process. Certainly, if the parties are attempting alternatives to litigation, such as mediation and negotiations and working toward a settlement agreement, the process can be delayed.  However, the courts will allow for delay when it is intended to try to resolve the matter rather than having to proceed to litigation.

While some other states do, New Jersey does not have a mandatory waiting period for divorce. In New Jersey, because divorce does not require the consent of both spouses, the process can proceed immediately once a complaint for divorce is filed. Additionally, after filing a complaint for divorce, the court can grant a divorce if all of the necessary paperwork has been completed, and all of the issues related to the divorce have been settled between the parties.

Here at DeTorres & DeGeorge, female divorce lawyers in New Jersey, we work zealously to represent our clients and avoid putting divorce on hold when our clients do not wish to do so. Contact us today to schedule your consultation if you want to know how long a divorce can be put on hold or understand the process of putting a divorce on hold. We are here to help!

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