What Might Happen if I Stall My Divorce in North Carolina?

Spouses may wish to stall their divorces for many reasons in North Carolina. Some of these reasons may seem legitimate, but the consequences of engaging in stalling tactics can be quite detrimental. If you are considering whether or not to stall for more time as you approach divorce in the Tar Heel State, you should consider these consequences. The truth is that intentionally stalling is frowned upon by divorce courts, and it is almost always inadvisable.

Why Might Spouses Choose to Stall?

Spouses may wish to engage in stalling tactics for a number of reasons. Many spouses do this simply to spite their exes, making the divorce process as difficult as possible while drawing out the stress as much as they can. Obviously, there is no real logic behind this course of action.

Other spouses may stall because they believe that the marriage is still salvageable. In their minds, stalling provides them with enough time to speak with their ex and attempt to get back together. Unfortunately, this strategy is also highly illogical for the most part. A divorce is often the last step for spouses who have tried every other method to save their marriage. A few more months will not have any real effect when it comes to the possibility of avoiding divorce.

Finally, some spouses stall in order to experience certain financial or legal advantages. In contrast to the aforementioned reasons, this actually represents a somewhat strategic approach. For example, a spouse may wish to stall until their spouse gets a bonus – potentially making that bonus marital property. But while this approach may be tactical in nature, it is still equally frowned upon by the courts.

There is Little Point in Stalling Divorces in North Carolina

Spouses must remember that the divorce process is already very slow in North Carolina compared to other states. The Tar Heel State has a mandatory one-year separation period before spouses can move ahead with their divorces. Any further attempt to stall would be pointless since this one-year period already serves all the aforementioned purposes for stalling. This one-year separation period gives spouses the chance to salvage the marriage, and it is also somewhat frustrating. Furthermore, it gives spouses time to establish financial and legal advantages.

Financial Consequences

Spouses who are caught intentionally stalling the divorce process without valid reasons could face certain financial consequences. These financial consequences often take the form of fines or “sanctions.” For example, a spouse who wastes weeks of time by failing to respond or being misleading could be ordered to pay a fine. This fine is often equivalent to the amount of money their ex spent on legal fees during the wasted period of time. In some cases, spouses are ordered to pay all of the legal fees incurred by their exes for wasting time during the divorce. Finally, spouses may also be ordered to pay alimony or child support while the divorce is still ongoing if they are caught stalling. This is true even if it is later established that child support or alimony is not necessary.

Loss of Integrity

There are also certain legal consequences that a spouse might experience for stalling a divorce, and the most notable is being held in contempt of court. Spouses may be held in contempt if they intentionally impede or sabotage the court process in any way, and stalling tactics certainly fall into this category.

That being said, a much more common consequence is the loss of integrity and trustworthiness in the eyes of the court. Although this consequence does not involve any “official” legal or financial penalties, it has the potential to affect your divorce to a much greater extent. If a judge comes to the conclusion that your stalling tactics are due to your general untrustworthiness, this may affect virtually all of their decisions and rulings throughout the rest of the divorce process. Your spouse may then gain an advantage due to the judge’s inherent bias toward them.

Where Can I Find a Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous divorcing spouses approach the end of their marriages with confidence. Although many spouses may be tempted to stall their divorces, there are almost always better strategies available. Book your consultation today to discuss your options in more detail.