Divorce Delay Tactics: How to Counter Them Like a Pro

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Introduction

Are you going through a divorce with someone who seems to have a secret playbook on divorce delay tactics to torture you and rob you blind?  This is DubG, and I’ve been through the wringer, but I’m still here to share my experiences, insights, and a healthy dose of hilarity to help you through your journey. Let’s start with a little story. Picture this: a bright, sunny day, a perfect day for a picnic. But instead of enjoying the sunshine, I found myself in a stuffy courtroom, my heart pounding like a drum as I waited for my turn to speak. I was representing myself in my divorce trial, a process that had dragged on for five long years. I had hired three attorneys, each promising to be my knight in shining armor, only to leave me bankrupt and more confused than ever. I was a single mom, juggling the demands of raising two kids while trying to navigate the legal labyrinth of divorce. My credit score had plummeted from a healthy 800+ to a dismal 500’s. I was broke, jobless, and on the brink of despair. But I refused to give up. I decided to take control of my situation and represent myself in court. It was a grueling process—a nine-day trial spread over nine months—but I emerged victorious, stronger, and more resilient than ever. Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want you to know that you’re not alone. Divorce can be a daunting process, especially when you’re dealing with a spouse who’s intentionally delaying the process. It’s like being stuck in a never-ending loop of frustration and despair. But don’t worry; I’ve got your back. This blog post is dedicated to all the single moms out there who are battling the divorce delay tactics of their spouses. I’ll be sharing my insights on understanding the divorce process, the reasons behind divorce delays, common delay tactics, and strategies to counter these tactics. So buckle up, ladies. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

Understanding the Divorce Process

Let’s dive into the murky waters of the divorce process. It’s like trying to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions—confusing, frustrating, and full of weird terms that make no sense. But don’t worry; I’m here to be your guide and your instruction manual, if you will. Navigating the Divorce Maze (And Not Losing Your Mind) Think of divorce as the inverse of Monopoly; instead of buying properties, you’re trying to split them, and instead of going to jail, you’re… well, at least I’m not going to jail. Here is a short version of the step-by-step divorce process, so you can envision your near future. 

  1. Filing the Petition: So, you’ve decided to get a divorce. First step? File a Petition for Divorce and serve your soon-to-be-ex the papers. It sounds like a piece of cake, right? Oh, honey, if only. I tried to serve my ex six times. Twice, he literally slammed the door in the face of the process server. I mean, come on! Who does that? After all that drama, we had to get creative. We got permission from the judge to send the papers via certified and regular mail. But here’s the kicker: We had to prove he lived at the address first. Thanks to a police report (and a very helpful officer), we managed to do just that.
  2. The Waiting Game: If your spouse is a reasonable human being and agrees to the divorce and its terms, you’re golden. But if they’re anything like my ex, brace yourself. If they ignore the papers, you’ll have to file for a default divorce. For me, this took ages. Just when I thought I was getting somewhere, COVID-19 hit, and the courts shut down. And when did they finally reopen? My ex waltzed in, attorney-less, and got a continuance. Classic.
  3. The “Prove It” Phase: So, your ex contests the divorce. Now what? You roll up your sleeves and dive into the world of “Discovery.” This is where you request all sorts of financial documents and start sifting through the evidence. Expect a barrage of interrogatories (fancy word for written questions) that need to be answered under oath. And if you think that’s fun, wait till you get to the depositions. If you suspect your ex is hiding money or being shady with their finances, you can request a forensic accountant. I did. My ex claimed he made $69k a year. Spoiler: He made it closer to $260k. But here’s the catch: a forensic accountant can cost a small fortune. And guess what? My ex dragged his feet for five years and never complied with any part of the discovery process.
    • If they or you have a cash business or questionable business ethics, a forensic accountant can be requested with reason. My side requested this and proved why we needed it with his verbal statement of how much he makes being completely inaccurate simply based on basic math. He said he made about 1/5 of what he actually made that year and it was pretty easy to prove simply by pulling my own cash deposits from the last few years because he gave me money and I paid all the bills. Yes, I made my own too, a good amount at that time; however, none of it was ever cash.  However, a forensic examination costs about $30–$50k. This was the only way we were going to find out how much he actually made and the judge ordered him to pay the retainer because he had already delayed the case for almost 2 years at that point. Well, he went another 3 after that too, without ever hiring one, delaying the case for 5 years, and ultimately never complying with a single court order or with any part of Discovery.

I don’t mean to scare you; I just want to make you more aware of what could happen.  But my story is like a worst-case scenario and probably won’t happen to you. That kind of crap only happens to me.

Divorce Court Delays

What the heck is a ‘Mandatory Waiting Period’?

Most states have this built-in waiting period during the divorce process. Think of it as the universe’s way of putting you in a time-out corner to think about what you’ve done. Or, for the romantics among us, it’s like that dramatic pause in movies where the music swells and the protagonist wonders if they’re making the right choice. Spoiler: they usually are. This waiting period can range from 30 to 90 days. And let me tell you, it feels like the longest halftime show ever, minus the entertaining commercials and wardrobe malfunctions. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex are both shouting, “Let’s get on with it!” from the rooftops, the law says, “Hold your horses, Romeo and Juliet.”

How long does a divorce take?

Now, onto the million-dollar question: How long can a divorce take? Well, my darlings, it’s a bit like asking how long a piece of string is. Or how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know. But here’s what I can tell you: The duration of a divorce depends on a few things:

    1. Cooperation (or lack thereof): If both parties are reasonable and want to wrap things up quickly, you’re golden. But if one of you decides to channel their inner toddler and throw a tantrum, well, strap in. It’s going to be a long ride.
    2. Complexity: Are you dividing a spoon collection or a multi-million-dollar estate? Do you have kids? Pets? A shared Netflix account? The more there is to hash out, the longer it’ll take.
    3. The Court’s Dance Card: Courts are like that popular kid in school—everyone wants their attention. If they’re swamped, you’re going to be waiting in line.
    4. Attorneys: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: A good attorney can speed things up, while a not-so-great one can make it feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending episode of a legal drama.

Intentionally Delaying Divorce Tactics: The Art Of The Drag

Alright, my divorce aficionados, let’s dive into the deep end of the pool. Ever wondered why some divorces seem to last longer than a season of “The Bachelor”? Well, it’s not always because the couple is holding out for a dramatic rose ceremony. Here are the top reasons why divorces can feel like they’re moving at the pace of a snail… on vacation.

  1. Denial: The “Maybe They’ll Come Back” Fantasy: Ah, good ol’ denial. It’s that pesky stage where one party thinks, “If I just avoid signing these papers, maybe they’ll come running back into my arms.” Spoiler alert: They usually don’t. But hey, who hasn’t watched a rom-com and thought, “Maybe that could be us!”? Reality check: life isn’t a movie, and holding onto hope can sometimes just prolong the inevitable. Keep a watchful eye because your spouse could be delaying the divorce if they have these symptoms.
  2. Vindictiveness: “I’ll show them!” Strategy: Then there’s the revenge-seeker. You know, the one who’s watched “Kill Bill” one too many times and thinks, “I’m going to make them suffer!” They use the divorce process like a kid uses a magnifying glass on ants—to inflict pain. It’s not pretty, and it’s not mature, but boy, does itDivorce delay tactics drag things out. So, you know, there is case law all around the country proving this behavior to be a form of domestic violence. This is also usually matched with non-compliance with support orders to financially deprive This was a big one for us. He did, in fact, do both, while the courts sat idly by. I will say that I filed several motions about this, but my county has never, ever written a contempt or prosecuted someone on this basis. Why, I don’t know, especially considering the case law and my own state. I know with certainty that the appellate court would have, but filing an appeal is a whole lot more expensive than filing a motion, which no one tells you. I’ll leave that for another post.
  3. Financial Hide-and-Seek: Crypto is the New Black: Money, money, money. It’s a rich man’s world, and in the world of divorce, it’s also a sneaky man’s world. Some spouses turn into financial houdinis, making assets disappear faster than you can say “pre-nup.” From gifting Aunt Gertrude that “family heirloom” to racking up “debts” faster than a shopaholic in a sale, these financial gymnastics can really slow things down. This is exactly what happened to me. I proved it. He was ordered to pay me a lump sum, got arrested on a warrant when he didn’t, twice, and another judge who never saw the evidence stripped me of my rights as a litigant, which he broke court rules by doing, but again, I could not afford to file an appeal. Can you say negligence of duty? Yeah…. My ex poured $10k a month into crypto and claimed it disappeared, and the judge took him on his word, regardless of the fact that at that time, he was lying to the court, saying he was broke and couldn’t afford support, which is what I proved he could. So, why did they believe his word yet ignore the actual evidence when their sole oath is to make decisions based of the evidence? You’ve got me. If you’re a lawyer, call me up and give me the lowdown, or just confirm my theory that they hate women, because that is what I went with. Or maybe it’s just me.
  4. Fear of the Unknown: “How Will I Survive?” Worry: Divorce isn’t just about breaking hearts; it’s about breaking banks. The fear of going solo, financially speaking, can be paralyzing. Some folks drag their feet, not out of spite but out of genuine fear of facing the big, bad world with half their assets (or less).
  5. The Parent Trap: The “Not Without My Kids” Battle And then there’s the mother (or father) of all battles: custody disputes. When kiddos are in the mix, things can go from zero to “Jerry Springer” real quick. Parents can become lions protecting their cubs, leading to drawn-out, emotional, and often painful custody wars. I will say, this is one thing neither of us contested. I believe he’s a good father and kids need their father. He just really, really sucks at the husband part.

Dirty Delay Tactics In Divorce

Alright, my fellow divorce gladiators, let’s dive into the underbelly of the beast. Ever wondered why some divorces feel like they’re sponsored by molasses? Well, it’s not because the universe hates you (though it might feel that way). It’s because some folks have a playbook of delay tactics that would make even a sloth say, “Hurry up!” Let’s break down these sneaky moves.

  1. Discovery as a Weapon: Imagine asking for a glass of water and getting the entire ocean. That’s what misusing the discovery process feels like. It’s a barrage of irrelevant, excessive demands for documents and information, just to drown you in paperwork. It’s less about finding the truth and more about playing a never-ending game of fetch. Asking for a ton of documents that are irrelevant or providing a ton of documents that are irrelevant has the same effect on time and money, because time is money.
  2. The “Not Today” Continuance: Ah, the classic continuance request. It’s the courtroom’s version of “I can’t; I have to wash my hair.” A sneaky way to hit pause on proceedings, often with the flimsiest of excuses If procrastination were an Olympic sport, this move would take gold. You wouldn’t believe some of the crap my ex’s lawyer pulled. But she also sent an average of five letters to the judge a day. At about $500 a pop, he could have paid the support he owed each month about 30 times over, but instead he paid zip.
  3. The Promise Breaker: Ok, this one… My Story…Jesus. My ex promised the judge 26 different times,  and the judge wrote 26 different orders, written Orders of the Court, on top of the one a different judge originally wrote requiring my ex to retain a forensic accountant. 26 different “One Last Chance” that he gave my ex, never granting the motions to compel or charge my ex with contempt, nothing. Yeah, that was his longest-running tactic—over 40 different hearings, but 26 different written orders reiterating the exact same thing. It was truly unbelievable that a judge could be that biased toward him. It was pretty clear that he either hated women or hated me.
  4. False Allegations: Throwing around false allegations is like tossing grenades in a game of dodgeball. It’s unexpected, explosive, and can derail everything. Whether it’s to gain an upper hand in custody battles or financial disputes, it’s a low move that requires time to debunk. My ex tried to claim I am a drug addict and kept repeating it, even though I had three different evaluations and numerous voluntary drug tests. All of it was completely unfounded, not true at all, to any degree. I do not do drugs and proved it, but it did not matter. I filed a motion to issue a gag order due to defamation of character.  You know, the judge actually said to me, “Well, Mrs. Green, he really believes it.”  My jaw dropped to the floor as I responded, “I don’t care if he really believes it. He is delusional or lying under oath. I proved he was wrongfully accusing me in a court of law several times and that makes it defamation.” He denied the motion. Seriously, he denied the motion. He hated women, or maybe it was just me.
  5. The Financial Inquisition: Demanding detailed financial records is like asking for your life story when all you said was “hello.” It’s invasive, exhaustive, and designed to slow things down to a crawl.
  6. The “Maybe Later” Strategy: Ever tried herding cats? That’s what it feels like when they’re constantly rescheduling meetings and refusing to sign off on documents. Just when you think you’re making progress, they’re off chasing another metaphorical laser pointer. We didn’t get to this point until after the final judgment, when he needed something changed. So not his strategy, but I wish I had thought of that.
  7. The Attorney Merry-Go-Round: Switching attorneys more often than socks and giving the silent treatment? Classic.  Now I did, in fact, switch attorneys, but not to delay it. I fired my first because he was collaborative and wouldn’t file on my behalf; I fired my second because I couldn’t afford to do anything anymore because of COVID delays. I hired my third through the victims compensation fund, but that ran out super duper quick because of a tactic my ex’s attorney used to run the billable hours up super quick by having to respond to numerous ridiculous false allegations. It worked. I paid him as long as I could, but I still owe him around $50,000, I think.  I had to fire him. I had to feed my kids, but I still struggle to do so to this very day because of all of this.
  8. The “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” Approach: Mr. Ex mastered this one. Ignoring discovery requests is the adult equivalent of sticking fingers in your ears and yelling, “I can’t hear you!” It’s maddening, childish, and oh-so-effective at causing delays. But the judge ate his empty apologies up without sanctions, ultimately never complying with any of them. EVER
  9. The Mediation Mic Drop: Abruptly ending mediation sessions is like walking out of a movie because you don’t like the popcorn. It’s dramatic, unnecessary, and ensures nothing gets resolved. However, I actually did this. What the other side was offering was insane. They purposely put hundred’s of thousands of dollars in debt. He purposely destroyed my career and my credit. NO FRIGGIN WAY. Nothing was getting resolved either way when he hadn’t complied with any Discovery and was trying to walk away with $200 a month in support and half the house. Fudge a popsicle up your tootle, Mr. Ex!
  10. The “Rain Check” on Mediation: And then there’s the tactic of canceling mediation and settlement conferences. It’s the “Sorry, I can’t come to your party” of the divorce world. Except the party is mandatory, and everyone’s waiting. We went twice. I walked out twice (well, hung the phone up; it was Covid)

Legal Delays and Complexities

Ok, people, let’s get into the legal side of things. This is where the divorce process can start to feel like you’re trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while blindfolded and that you just smoked a doobie for the first time in ten years (I’m a moron when I smoke pot now). It’s complex, it’s confusing, and it’s full of legal jargon that can make your head spin. But don’t worry; I’m here to break it down for you. First off, let’s talk about the legal complexities of divorce. It’s like trying to untangle a giant ball of spaghetti.  This is where things like property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support come into play. Each of these issues requires a detailed understanding of the law and can involve complex calculations and negotiations. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on one strand, another one pops up to confuse you.

  1. Property: For example, dividing marital property isn’t as simple as splitting everything 50/50. Depending on your state, the statute will define property division either as “marital,” which is 50/50 and fairly easy, or “equitable,”, which actually doesn’t mean equal; it means what is “fair” and determining what is fair in a “no fault” divorce, with zero discovery disclosed by the defendant. Well, now you see why my case took five years, and I’m still pissed off.  The judge has to consider things like the value of the property (which wasn’t disclosed; mine was, his wasn’t), any debts associated with it (mine was, his wasn’t), and whether it’s considered marital or separate property (that was tricky too, because he formed his partnership 2 years after we were married, plus he got his business out of bankruptcy using my personal credit cards 4 years before we were married and 3 years after). Complicated as flibbertigibbet, right?  And that’s just one aspect of the divorce process.
  2. The Game Changers: Kids (But They Aren’t The Pawn)  When kids enter the divorce arena, things can go from complicated to “Game of Thrones”-level drama. It’s not just about who gets the kids on weekends. It’s a multi-layered puzzle that considers the kids’ ages, their bonds with each parent, financial situations, and so much more. It’s a high-stakes game where the prize is the well-being of your little ones.
  3. The Devil’s in the Details In the world of divorce, dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s is crucial. One misstep can have consequences that range from an unfair settlement to legal penalties. For instance, “forgetting” to disclose that secret Swiss bank account? That’s a no-no that can land you in hot water. It’s like playing Jenga; one wrong move can not only delay your divorce, but it could make everything come crashing down.

The Counter-Attack: Strategies to Beat Delay Tactics

This is one of those moments of reflection in my life, the one where you say, “If I had known then, what do I know now?” So if you are still reading this long-ass post, you’re about to be rewarded with the magic potion to conquer and destroy your enemy! It’s time to fight back.Counter attack of divorce delay tactics You’ve been patient; you’ve played by the rules, but the delays just keep coming, like trying to run through quicksand or scream in a dream, but you have no voice (those dreams scare the crap out of me). But don’t despair; there are strategies you can use to counter these delay tactics and get your divorce back on track.  Delays like this are constantly forcing you to file motions, but this strategy could actually make that work in your favor. However, please be sure to consult with an attorney, but if you cannot afford one, like I couldn’t, this is only how I would do it if I could redo it today and this is not legal advice. I am not, nor ever was, an attorney in any state. 

  1. Obtaining a Final Hearing Date: First up, obtaining a final hearing date This is like setting the finish line in a race. Once you have a final hearing date, it creates a sense of urgency and gives you a clear goal to work towards. It’s not a magic bullet, but it can help keep things moving.
  2. Obtaining a Scheduling Order from the Court: Next, obtain a scheduling order from the court. This is like getting a roadmap for your divorce. It sets out deadlines for each stage of the process, which can help prevent delays and keep things on track. It’s like having a GPS for your divorce journey.
  3. Requesting Court-Ordered Mediation: Ironically, one of the most valuable lessons I learned is that judges do not like to make decisions, especially in civil or family court. The reason? Because one side will always get the short end of the straw and they have a high chance of appealing, if a high number of their decisions are overturned, they’re not going to be a judge for very long… and then what? Becoming a judge is what they worked for, so their career is pretty much over after that. Requesting court-ordered mediation is another effective strategy, even if you walk out, because it says to the judge, Look, I want to end this. At least put me on the calendar and let’s see if I can use that to negotiate a settlement agreement, which means they don’t have to do their job.  Mediation, more so when you have leverage, can help you and your spouse find ‘common ground’ and resolve issues without the need for lengthy court battles. But if not, now you’ve used the request for another mediation to move your case forward. 
  4. Call Fouls: Requesting Sanctions for Ignoring Deadlines or Court Orders Remember, what I would do is put all of these requests into a single motion, including requesting sanctions for the opposition for ignoring deadlines and/or court orders. This is like calling a foul in a basketball game. If your spouse is deliberately delaying the process, you can ask the court to impose sanctions.  This could be anything from fines to a judgment in your favor on certain issues. I did in fact request this numerous times, but never in the witches brew-like combination that I have shared with you today. You’re welcome

Conclusion

So there you have it. We’ve navigated the twists and turns of the divorce process, explored the dark corners of delay tactics, and armed ourselves with strategies to fight back. It’s been a journey, but remember, every journey has an end, and every end is a new beginning.

A Personal Message From DubG

If you’re going through a divorce, I want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s a tough journey, but you’re tougher. You have the strength and resilience to navigate this process and come out the other side stronger and wiser. Remember, it’s not about winning or losing; it’s about finding a resolution that allows you to move forward and start a new chapter in your life. With that said, this was by far the most difficult time of my life. Regardless of whether you are representing yourself like you had to in the end or not, it’s hard. But there is in fact another level, challenging your will to keep going in so many ways, when you have to manage every part of the duty and try to understand the law without emotion getting in the way. I know how alone I felt, often losing it like a 3-year-old having a meltdown on my kitchen floor, in my car at the gym and even in the middle of Shoprite, but I had to get out of their quick or I was going to end up being removed in a literal strait jacket. I wish I were kidding. #noshame #divorcesucks  So, I genuinely want to extend an invitation for you to reach out to me personally for support, an ear, or a non-professional review of your paperwork, but as a friend, because again, I AM NOT A LAWYER. Divorce, especially Pro Se Divorce can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. There are people, or at least one person, who cares, gets it, and wants to help.  Follow, connect, or subscribe to your preferred social media, then DM me (or just hit up all of them with the same message so I see it). Until then, you’ve got this, my friend. You do. But if you don’t and lose your mind in Shoprite like The Exorcist, run.  -DubG