Almost every spouse who has gone through a divorce understands the frustration of delays. Sometimes, divorces can drag on for years and years on end without any sign of resolution. Some spouses intentionally delay their divorces, while others only face delays because they need to resolve important issues. And even if a spouse’s divorce goes relatively quickly, there are always a few sticking points that add a handful of weeks to the process. Sure – it is technically possible to resolve a divorce within a few weeks in certain states. But this is rarely ever the case. 

Could there actually be benefits to delaying a divorce? When might a spouse want to stall for time? Is this actually worth the effort, or do the downsides of delays outweigh the benefits?

Pros of Delaying a Divorce

One argument in favor of delaying a divorce has to do with the economy. It’s no secret that the economy isn’t exactly in tip-top condition right now, especially when you consider the rising cost of living, the turbulent stock market, and rising mortgage rates. The most obvious reason to delay a divorce is if you can’t even afford to hire a lawyer. Of course, there’s always the chance that the economy could get worse with time, putting the affordability of divorce further and further out of reach for the average spouse. 

Some spouses might want to delay their divorce until a time when affording support payments becomes more viable. For example, they might have recently lost their job. For both spouses, it might make sense to wait until this individual has regained employment. Although the court might find that their lack of employment should result in lower support payments, there’s no sense in going back to court to rehash these agreements when the spouse finds another job. 

Delaying a divorce also gives you time to consider complex assets, such as the division of businesses. Rushing through this process may have dire consequences at a later date. You might also benefit from having more time to discuss the situation with your children and get everyone accustomed to the new family situation. Finally, it might be worth delaying your divorce if their house is underwater. It might make more sense to wait until the property’s value increases and debt decreases – although there’s no guarantee that this will ever actually happen. 

Cons of Delaying a Divorce

The most obvious con to delaying a divorce is simple: You’re delaying the inevitable. Most of the alleged benefits involve waiting for “better financial times,” but there’s no guarantee these better times will ever arrive. Indeed, the economy could get worse and worse. The longer a spouse delays their divorce, the longer they have to wait before they achieve true financial independence and start earning their own money. In addition, delaying a divorce might play right into the hands of a shrewd spouse who wants to use this additional time to conceal assets and commit other forms of financial misconduct.