How Long Can a Spouse Drag Out a Divorce in Minnesota?

How Long Can a Spouse Drag Out a Divorce in Minnesota?

Ending a marriage is never easy, but when one spouse tries to delay the divorce process, it can drag out the proceedings and cause additional stress. If your spouse is stalling your Minnesota divorce, you may wonder how long they can prolong the process and what tactics they may use.

Disagreements over child custody, property division, and other divorce terms often motivate a spouse to stall, hoping their partner will cave to their demands. While a contested divorce takes longer, even an uncontested divorce can get dragged out if one spouse refuses to cooperate.

In this article, our Minnesota divorce lawyers will help you understand how a spouse can delay a divorce, what stalling tactics they may employ, how to get your divorce back on track, and how long the process typically takes from start to finish.

Common Reasons a Spouse May Want to Delay a Minnesota Divorce

There are many reasons why your spouse may intentionally try to stall your divorce in Minnesota.

Some of the most common motivations include:

  • They hope you’ll change your mind about getting divorced
  • They want to hide assets and income from you
  • They disagree with your proposed divorce terms
  • They are bitter about the divorce and want to punish you by drawing it out
  • They will financially gain from prolonging divorce proceedings
  • They worry they cannot afford to live independently

Often, one spouse does not want the divorce or feels blindsided by your decision to end the marriage. By delaying the process, they may hope that you’ll eventually call it off. However, once divorce papers are filed with the court, it is possible to finalize the divorce over an unwilling spouse’s objections.

Sneaky Divorce Tactics Your Spouse May Use to Drag Out the Process

Spouses who want to stall a divorce employ various sneaky tactics to delay proceedings. Some common stalling methods our MN divorce lawyers see include:

  • Avoiding being served the divorce papers
  • Repeatedly rescheduling meetings with attorneys
  • Refusing to provide documents or financial information
  • Making unreasonable demands to purposely dispute terms
  • Constantly changing lawyers to restart negotiations
  • Failing to sign divorce documents like the decree
  • Filing frivolous motions to tie up the court
  • Repeatedly seeking court date continuances
  • Withholding agreement on child custody arrangements
  • Contesting previously settled divorce terms
  • Ignoring court orders or violating temporary orders

These stalling tactics add frustration and costs to the process. Your spouse may also use the divorce delay to liquidate assets, incur joint debt, or hide finances from marital division.

Typical Timeline: How Long Does a Divorce Take in Minnesota?

Many factors impact how quickly a Minnesota divorce will be finalized, but here is a general timeline from start to finish:

Filing the Petition – 1-4 Weeks

Your divorce officially begins when the initial petition and forms are filed with the district court in the county where either you or your spouse reside. Your lawyer will prepare these divorce papers.

Serving Your Spouse – 1-3 Weeks

Your spouse must receive official service of process notifying them of the divorce proceedings. You cannot finalize the divorce until your partner is properly served under MN law.

Temporary Hearings – 4-8 Weeks

If needed, the court may hold a temporary hearing to issue short-term rulings on financial support, child custody, and other matters while the divorce is pending.

Discovery Phase – 2-6 Months

This is the fact-finding process involving the production of documents, written Q&A, depositions, valuations, and more. Much delay can happen here if one spouse doesn’t cooperate.

Negotiating Settlement Terms – 1-4 Months

Through attorneys or mediation, you and your spouse must agree on all divorce terms like property division, alimony, child custody, etc. Contested terms may require court intervention.

Cooling Off Period – Minimum 30-60 Days

Minnesota requires this waiting period between initially reaching a divorce settlement until the court can enter the final decree.

Final Hearing and Decree – 1-2 Months

After the cooling-off period ends, the judge holds a final hearing to ensure all issues are resolved before officially entering the divorce decree.

Realistically, if your spouse cooperates fully, an uncontested Minnesota divorce can take 3-6 months from start to finish. However, if your spouse stalls at every chance, drag out disputes over terms, or violates court orders, the process can lengthen to 1-2 years in a highly contested case.

The more issues requiring court intervention, the longer the proceedings will take. But, a persistent divorce lawyer can help move your divorce efficiently through the MN family court system.

How to Get Your Delayed Minnesota Divorce Back on Track

If your spouse is dragging their feet on finalizing your divorce, don’t despair. An experienced MN divorce attorney can help “unstick” your stalled case and get your divorce back on track through the courts.

Specifically, a lawyer can:

  • File motions to compel your spouse to produce requested documents
  • Ask the judge to impose deadlines for specific divorce terms to be decided
  • Request temporary court orders for spousal support, child support, child custody, etc., while disputed terms are negotiated
  • Petition the court to enforce existing orders your spouse is violating
  • Seek sanctions against your spouse for failing to cooperate with the proceedings in good faith
  • Argue for a trial date for the court to rule on contested divorce issues
  • Negotiate settlement of disputed terms through mediation if needed

Family law attorneys are all too familiar with stalling tactics of soon-to-be ex-spouses. Your lawyer can equip you to counter delays and work toward a fair, timely divorce resolution.

We Can Help If Your Minnesota Divorce Is Delayed

Are you wondering, “How long can my spouse delay our divorce?” Don’t let your partner’s stalling tactics leave you stuck in marital limbo indefinitely. With focused guidance from the seasoned divorce attorneys at Martine Law, you can counter their delay efforts and optimize the timeline for your divorce’s final resolution.

Whether through negotiated settlement or litigation, we have the experience to get your case unstuck and conclude the proceedings fairly. Don’t wait – contact us today to discuss your situation during a case review. Take control of the timeline – your future is waiting.

Author Bio

Xavier Martine

Xavier Martine is the Founder of Martine Law, a Minnesota criminal defense and family law firm. Serving clients in Minneapolis, MN, and surrounding areas, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of criminal matters, including DWIs, drug charges, misdemeanors, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. He also represents clients in family law matters, including divorce, child support, and child custody.

Xavier received his Juris Doctor from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys Under 40 in Minnesota” in 2021 by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. He was also named the “Best DUI Lawyer in Minneapolis” award in 2023 by and a “Rising Star” in 2023 by SuperLawyers.

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