Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Delaying divorce can cause problems

Life goes on after divorce. Delaying the process only prevents former partners from moving on-and creates new problems. Divorce should not drag on for several reasons.

First, the gap between the soon-to-be ex-spouses tends to increase once a divorce begins. Once they have outgrown the stress caused by divorce, the couple begins to move on individually while they are still married. The goal of getting the divorce finalized becomes less and less important. Unless the spouses have good reason to keep the process going, they may never finish it.

At the same time, the still-married partners are likely to develop new romantic relationships, which can negatively affect the divorce proceedings. For instance, the new lover may influence the spouse in a biased way, thereby complicating the negotiations about issues such as property division and child custody.

Also, when a divorce takes too long, the more likely it is that friends and family will become involved. Although their intentions are generally sincere, their advice or opinions only complicate-and sometimes heat up-the discussion of important issues. Divorce is a decision and a process that takes place between the soon-to-be-ex-spouses. It is advisable to keep the crowd and all their opinions out of it.

Finally, divorce is costly enough, and delays only make it costlier, even in the case of a mediated divorce. Divorce mediation is designed to create a positive and cooperative environment for the spouses. However, delaying decision-making and dragging one's feet is neither positive nor cooperative. The resulting frustration and heated emotion can cause even a mediated divorce to fail.

Whether in Worcester, Massachusetts, or elsewhere in the country, delaying divorce causes financial and emotional strain, usually results in time wasted arguing rather than talking things through and leads to further disputes and delays. A divorce mediator, working with other experts, can help the couples move forward efficiently before, during and after divorce. It is an alternate approach that often works well for divorcing couples.

Source: Huffington Post, "4 Reasons Why Delaying a Divorce Procedure Is Like Creating a Time Bomb," Jim Halfens, Oct. 27, 2013

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