5 Reasons Why We Have Divorce Waiting Periods

divorce waiting periodBy Jennifer M. Paine

Michigan Divorce Lawyer

Oh, that pesky divorce waiting period. If you are like most guys, you want this divorce over NOW!

Every day is another dollar spent, another opportunity for your spouse to file a motion, another roadblock on your path to freedom.

Then you discover an even bigger roadblock – the mandatory divorce waiting period. What is a waiting period, and why should the government be allowed to tell you when you can and cannot get a divorce?

Here are the 5 common reasons for waiting periods in divorce:


1. Reconciliation: In many states, waiting periods allow spouses time to reflect on their marriage and reconcile. This may be an explicit purpose stated directly in the law itself or a subtle, but intended, purpose from religious and social groups who lobbied for the law.

Either way, the consequences of divorce can be disastrous, and a few good weeks to reflect on why one of you filed could do a great deal to correct mistakes and bring you back together.

However, there are many reasons, such as abuse and abandonment, to forgo reconciliation efforts altogether and focus on the divorce process during this time. Consult with your mens divorce lawyer and a mental health professional, and do what is best for you – not what a lobbying group or a legislator says you should do.


waiting periods in divorce2. Investigation for Finances: Unless you have all of your and your spouse’s tax returns, bank and credit union statements, credit reports, credit card statements, vehicle loan statement, etc., will need time to investigate.

Investigating requires subpoenas, interviews with third parties, appraisals, home and business inspections, and more, all of which take time. A minimum subpoena turn-around time, for example, could be as little as two days or as much as 30 days or more.


3. Investigation for Children: Similarly, unless you and your spouse agree how to parent your children after your divorce, you will need time to investigate housing, childcare providers, schools, visitation schedules, who will be around your children during each other’s parenting time, whether there are any mental or physical health impediments, and so forth.

Investigation here also may require subpoenas, interviews, and inspections. This will almost certainly require meetings with children’s professionals and, in many states, guardians ad litem and child custody evaluators. These also generally take longer than 30 days to complete.

4. Court Scheduling/Trial Preparation: If your case does not settle, then you will be at the mercy of the court’s schedule for trial. In most states, courts are so backlogged that trials occur well after your waiting period expires.

Add to this the time required to prepare and file witness lists, exhibits, trial summaries, and to interview witnesses and prepare your testimony, and you could be waiting a long time for your divorce.  In some states, the grounds you have to prove to obtain a divorce depend on how long you wait for a divorce, as well.

For example, you may be able to obtain a “no fault” divorce if you wait X months, while you must prove fault to obtain one earlier. That being said, if trial is on the horizon, you will want this time to prepare adequately to present your case.


5. Minimizing Collateral Consequences: Like the explicit or subtle purpose to make couples reconcile, for most couples divorce waiting periods also force both spouses to consider collateral consequences.

What will happen to our children, and how can we minimize the impact on them? What will happen to my credit score, and who do I consult for financial planning and when? Where will I live, and should I attempt to buy a house now?

These issues, and more, will need to be addressed while your divorce is pending so that you have a sound, workable plan when your divorce concludes.

Frankly, a quickie divorce – like a quickie marriage – is a bad thing for most guys anyway. If you’ve spent years waiting for this time, it’s worth it to wait a couple of extra weeks in order to finalize your divorce the right way.

Meet With A Divorce Attorney Today:

Cordell & Cordell Lawyers

Jennifer M. Paine is a Michigan Divorce Lawyer with Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

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4 comments on “5 Reasons Why We Have Divorce Waiting Periods

    #1 Does internet pornography count as infidelity?
    #2 Did I wait too long to be able to file a divorce on infidelity grounds -his fault?

    My husband and I have been married for 22 yrs. In 2014, after our sexlife went from average to non existent over the course of a year, he admitted to an internet porn addiction after I confronted him with his internet history.
    I was so distraught that I had to quit my job. Long story-short, We have been in and out of counseling since then and nothing has helped. We’ve pretty much been living like roommates for the past 3 years, and now that I’m finished grad school I’m ready to break free of this toxic situation. We sleep in separate rooms and no longer have a sexlife.
    Also, he pays the bills, does this mean I have to leave the home when we separate?

    For some couples, these waiting periods may seem just short of common sense. For others, it’s a frustrating joke. My wife and I were married for 34-1/2 years. The last 17 were pretty rough and it seems the harder we tried, the worse things got. There was marriage counseling, along with counsel from our ecclesiastical leaders. We’re empty nesters so children aren’t a problem (in fact, our children actually suggested that we should split!) we’ve been separated for the past 26 months and now the state is telling US that THEY know more about relationships than we do? Please. I think people in our situation should be exempt from a waiting period, and other things should be considered in each case, such as ages of the children, how long you were married, how long you were separated, is the divorce uncontested (ours was)? Even if they only took into consideration the number of years married, length of time separated, and ages of the children are considered, it would make so much more sense and needn’t be complicated at all. For example: married for more than ten years, AND separated for at least three months, AND there are no underage children involved = no waiting period.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I had a bad experience with the one year waiting period in South Carolina. After 18 years of marriage and without grounds my wife filed for divorce. And even though to court recognized that I had done nothing wrong and did not want a divorce the judge ordered me from my home, separated me from my child, and forced me to pay separate support and maintenance. The amount I had to pay was so great that I could not support myself with the remainder of my income. The difference, in the conditions during the separation, was only slightly more severe than the conditions after the divorced. In other words being separated seemed no different than being divorce. The only thing that I had to wait for was a fair and just hearing. I felt like my wife had been given everything she wanted just by asking for it.

    After the one year waiting period was over, my wife waited for another year before filing for a final hearing. I could have filed myself but, I did not want a divorce. By the time we got to the final hearing all the resources I had to defend myself were depleted by the court order support I paid to her.

    Since this happened, I have been trying to discover if there is any direct evidence that waiting periods work to reconcile and save marriages. However, all that can be found are studies on divorce rates in states with and without waits. Because there are such differences in state laws and divorce rates it is not reasonable to make any conclusions on waiting periods based on the rates. It is ridiculous that the courts don’t keep records showing the number of separations that concluded in divorce and the numbers that did not.

    We must have these numbers or else there cannot be any way to justify the disparity caused by separations without trials.

    Waiting Period
    Hello Jennifer, Thanks for sharing all the important reasons for the waiting period for divorce. Divorce waiting period is nothing but the certain time period from divorce is file to the final hiring of court. Waiting period is really essential for a couple and their family, that they will take the right decision about their family and them-self also. Check out – http://www.edivorceintexas.com/ which explain each and every type of divorce waiting period.

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