While there is no way to stop a divorce in Indiana, a party who does not want a divorce may wish to slow it down in the hopes of reconciliation. There are a few strategies that can be used to accomplish this goal. This blog explores how to slow down a divorce proceeding without violating any court rules or orders and work towards reconciliation.
First, check the pleadings that you received to see if there is an order setting a preliminary hearing. Because a divorce cannot be granted for at least sixty (60) days after the date of filing of the petition, many parties request a preliminary hearing where the judge can make temporary orders for property division, child custody, parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance.. If a preliminary hearing has been set, you can delay it by filing a motion to continue the hearing or reschedule it for a later date, if supported by something like a scheduling conflict. A motion to continue must contain a valid reason for rescheduling the hearing.
Legitimate reasons for a continuance might include an inability to take off work, the funeral of a family member on the same day of the hearing, a previously scheduled vacation, or illness. Keep in mind that no matter what reason you give, the judge may not continue your hearing. However, if you check with your spouse and they agree to having it rescheduled, including a sentence in your motion that your spouse has no objection to a continuance will likely result in the judge granting your motion.
Talk to your spouse about marriage counseling. If a divorce petition has already been filed, it may be more difficult to convince them to attend counseling, but it is possible they do not want a divorce either, and simply did not know what else to do. You can start the conversation by letting your spouse know that you do not want a divorce. Approach the rest of the discussion from an “I feel” not a “you did” perspective. For example, instead of telling your spouse what they have done to cause the marriage to deteriorate, say that you feel like the two (2) of you can make the marriage work if you could better understand their feelings and what you can do to make the marriage better. Your spouse has taken a huge step towards ending the marriage and if you want to save it, now is not the time to play the blame game.
It is likely that your spouse will refuse to attend marriage counseling, declaring that you are the one who needs counseling. Be prepared for this. You can start by making a list of all the comments or complaints your spouse has made about your behavior, consider why you might have behaved that way, and come up with a plan for correcting each item on your list. Show the list to your spouse, ask if there is anything they would add to it, and then agree to go to counseling by yourself to help you work through the items on your list. This will show your spouse that you care about their feelings and really do want to save the marriage.
Use the (legitimate) discovery process to slow down the divorce proceedings. Discovery requests, such as interrogatories or requests for production of documents, gives the party receiving the request thirty (30) days to respond. This means that if your spouse sends you any discovery, you can wait until the 30th day to submit your responses. Your spouse will likely not set any hearings until your discovery responses have been received. Conversely, you can send discovery to your spouse, and if any hearings are scheduled before you receive a response, file a motion to continue the hearing citing incomplete discovery as the reason for the motion.
Finally, if and when you are required to attend a hearing, testify that you do not want a divorce and believe that reconciliation is a real possibility if you and your spouse attend counseling. If you have any e-mails, letters, text messages, or voice mails from your spouse that may tend to prove reconciliation is possible, you can also present this evidence at hearing. A court that finds reconciliation is reasonably possible may counseling. You should be aware, however, that this very rarely happens, and if one party wants a divorce, they are entitled to a divorce.
Perhaps one of the best tactics to use in slowing down a divorce is to simply concentrate on resolving the issues in your marriage and winning back your spouse. While you may not realize it, you treat your spouse differently than you did in the beginning when the two (2) of you fell in love. Marriage tends to make spouses so comfortable with one another that they forget to be patient, loving, and kind to one another. In fact, many married couples treat strangers better than they do each other. Even if your spouse has moved out, there will be opportunities to interact where you can begin treating them in a way that shows your interest in their thoughts and feelings and willingness to listen, compromise, and support them.
If you want to slow down a divorce proceeding, the experienced attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help you accomplish your goals without violating court rules or orders or Rules of Professional Conduct. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. It is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.