Ask A Lawyer: How Can I Speed Up Her Finishing The Paperwork?


My wife and I filed for divorce over a year ago. I was the respondent, and have finished all my paperwork & have not received anything back from the courts. Almost every month she tells me she received the paperwork back and has to pay to have someone help her. I have offered to pay just so we can get this done and she refuses.

Finally, I called the court to see where the problem was, and they told me they are waiting for her to finish her part. What can I do to speed this up?



Without knowing the process you are utilizing, it would appear that the only issue may be the court fees, which you should be able to pay without her involvement or you may be able to file your own lawsuit to end the marriage.

If she is dragging her feet, it may be due to her personal financial or legal issues which could come back on you depending upon what is at issue, as you are still married and in many states still potentially liable for her debts.  Further, if you have any joint property, her liabilities may become a lien on your property until it is awarded in the divorce.  If she knows she is going to become unemployed or is having health issues, she may be holding off in order to seek spousal support. 

Because your potential obligations to her are unresolved until the divorce judgment is entered, it is best to pursue a prompt dissolution of the marriage when possible.  As the marital relationship has ended and she has no incentive to lookout for your best interests at this point, a swift conclusion of the case is advised to avoid additional obligations or entanglements that can arise during a prolonged delay in the process.

Regardless of how simple the ending of the marriage may appear, and that there may be procedures for processing the paperwork without an attorney, dissolution of marriage is no different than any other lawsuit or financial transaction and having your own legal advisor is advised.  If the divorce is truly amicable and the issues uncomplicated, the cost of retaining your own attorney to advise you and process the case through the court will be relatively minor in relation to assuring the divorce is accomplished properly and promptly. 



Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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