Can a judge dismiss my divorce case due to delays?
When you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce, there can be a lot of questions that arise regarding the overall process. The decision to divorce in and of itself is incredibly difficult for most couples. Unfortunately, the difficulties do not suddenly cease when you come to that decision. Once you start the process, it is important to remember that courts expect some kind of follow-through. If you are certain that divorce is the best option for you, one of the things that is beneficial to keep in mind is how to navigate a divorce case if you experience delays of any kind.
What Can Cause a Delay?
Divorce case delays can happen for numerous reasons. One of the more common reasons is that both parties cannot agree on the terms of their divorce. As far as court cases go, divorce cases are notoriously emotionally-driven. Emotions are high and there is not much room for logic, especially at the beginning of a divorce case. When emotions run high and logic is low, divorce delays may occur until both parties can agree on certain terms. Additionally, if one party simply refuses to sign a divorce agreement or hopes to one day reconcile, this can delay the process for obvious reasons.
Another cause of delay is purposeful and court-ordered. This is commonly seen when minor children are involved. Courts will typically assign a six-month waiting period before finalizing a divorce. With that being said, if it is in the best interest of the children, the court is allowed to waive the waiting period after 60 days.
Until a judge issues a divorce decree, a divorce is not final. In Michigan, a divorce case must be open, at a minimum, for at least 60 days. Further, after it is issued, a complaint and summons for divorce is valid for 91 days. If it is not served within that period of time, the case is then considered dismissed sans prejudice, meaning that the case can be refiled at any time.
Every court does things differently; at the end of the day, it comes down to the judge. Typically, if a case has not seen any action, a pretrial or settlement conference will be held by the judge to determine the case’s overall status. If the judge sees that there is a good reason behind the case’s delay, then the judge can allow the case to carry on as long as he or she deems necessary. However, if the judge decides that the case needs some momentum, a trial date will likely be set. All in all, a judge has the right to extend or dismiss a case due to delays.
When it comes to divorce, many parties are affected. Hiring a family law attorney that you trust is paramount to a case’s overall success. At Gucciardo Family Law Firm, family comes first. If you are in need a family law attorney that you can trust, contact Gucciardo Family Law today at (248) 723-5190.
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