Call to Schedule an Appointment

The Danger of Protracted Divorce Proceedings

No matter how amicable a divorce may be, each spouse is almost certain to struggle with the change and will find it hard to view the other spouse in a positive light. While compromise and negotiation are the desirable ways to handle divorce, there are situations that call for court intervention and oversight to ensure a fair and appropriate outcome is achieved. However, there is a line between justified litigation and using the court to exact revenge on a spouse for the failure of the relationship. It can be hard to let go of negative feelings the end of a marriage naturally brings, but engaging in extended litigation not only makes it virtually impossible to heal psychologically, it can also result in negative legal consequences for the parties, causing the proceedings to last longer.

One particularly extreme example of this behavior, and how it can produce negative results, appeared in a divorce case that lasted more than five years. Ultimately, the husband was found to have dissipated marital assets and received a smaller portion of the marital estate, as well as limited child custody rights. While these decisions appear proper, although not necessarily representative of most cases, they do still serve to illustrate how protracted litigation can bring a scrutinized focus from the court that can lead to one spouse being favored over the other, in addition to other undesirable consequences. An overview of how extensive divorce litigation can affect the final resolution of a divorce case will follow below.

Financial Repercussions

Even with careful planning and a willingness to compromise, divorce will trigger a number of financial consequences that can not be avoided. How much a spouse is affected will depend upon the existence and terms of a prenuptial agreement, as well as the relative earning power of each individual. That being said, the divorce process itself costs money, and the longer it lasts, the higher the attorney fees and related costs will be. In the long-term, this means less money will be available to transition to life after divorce, an adjustment that is already hard to overcome without the added stress of high legal bills. From a practical standpoint, judges are not particularly happy about seeing a divorce case drag on for years, and not only will push hard to see the couple form some sort of compromise, but may also scrutinize the positions of each spouse more closely, especially if one spouse is the main driver of the litigation. Given that judges do have a fair amount of leeway on issues such as property division and child custody, this attention can go against the interests of the litigious spouse and lead to an outcome that could be more favorable to the other side.

Psychological Impact

Study after study has shown that divorce is considered one of the most stressful and life-altering events a person will ever experience, which is compounded if children are in the picture. The divorce process tends to put a magnifying glass on this situation and create even more stress because it requires a couple to look at the minutiae of their marriage. In cases with high conflict and years of court proceedings, this stress is even more intense and can take a toll on the well-being of both parties. Furthermore, children are particularly impacted by highly contested divorce cases and can suffer significant psychological and emotional harm from the experience, especially if one or both parents tries to involve them in the court case. On the whole, drawn-out divorce cases rarely benefit anyone, and should be avoided except in extreme situations. While it is appropriate to seek court intervention for some amount of oversight, fighting every issue to the very end does not normally leave anyone as the winner.

Speak to an Indiana Divorce Attorney

Divorce is a complicated process that should not be rushed, nor extended unnecessarily. If you have questions about the best way to handle your divorce, talk to Christopher L. Arrington, P.C. about your options. Adversarial methods are not the only approach, and other alternatives could produce a better outcome. Contact the Danville divorce law firm today to schedule an appointment and learn more.

« Back to Arrington Law Help Center