People who are involved in the divorce process often hear plenty of legal threats from their former partners. It's not uncommon for one person to believe the divorce is worth stopping altogether. You may wonder whether they can do that, and here is what a divorce lawyer will likely tell you.
The Role of No-Fault Divorce
Every divorce attorney in America will tell you that one party can't use the legal system to prevent the other from ending a marriage. The no-fault divorce system makes it impossible to stop the process if one party wants out. It doesn't matter which state you live in, and it doesn't matter how long the marriage lasted.
Why is this the case? Every state allows some form of no-fault divorce, and many states only conduct divorces through no-fault systems.
Even if you live in a state that allows fault-based divorce, the reality is that it will almost certainly not be worth the bother. A fault-based divorce might gum up the works and drag the process out a bit, but it doesn't provide any way to stop the process.
Someone Has to Sue the Other Person
Notably, the no-fault approach only requires one party to want to end the marriage. To accomplish this, they must sue the other person.
Normally, a divorce lawyer will file paperwork citing irreconcilable differences. This simply means that at least one of the two spouses believes that nothing can be done to save the marriage. The courts do not question a claim of irreconcilable differences, nor do they require any evidence. Simply making the declaration in a lawsuit is good enough.
Some states, though not all of them, have cooling-off periods. These range from a few weeks to several months. The intention is to allow both parties a chance to consider whether they want a divorce. However, if the suing party hasn't withdrawn the petition by the end of the cooling-off period, the court will approve the divorce.
Other Potentials Delays
As with any lawsuit, you must formally serve the other party with paperwork. This can create delays if the person is away on business or deployed with the military.
Someone who doesn't want a divorce, though, can't delay it forever by avoiding being served. Once the petitioning side has made a good-faith effort to serve the other party, they can ask the court to proceed without them.
General court issues can cause delays, too. If the court is backed up with cases, it may take the clerk a while to get yours in front of a judge.
Contact a law firm like Gomez May LLP to learn more.