What Do You Do If Your Spouse Doesn't Want A Divorce?

Posted on: 12 March 2021

If you are seeking a divorce but your spouse is not on board, you may be wondering if there anything you can do. Don't worry; you still have options. A divorce attorney can help you through every step. Here is what you can do if your spouse refuses to get divorced:

Start Now

You might be thinking that with enough time, your spouse will come around. However, your happiness doesn't need to be put on hold, particularly if you know you want to get on with your life. So, start now. Talk to divorce attorneys for advice. Start the paperwork. The case can be started without your spouse's permission. Divorce can drag on for months, especially if it goes to court (which it's likely to without your spouse's cooperation), so you don't want to delay. Certain divorces can even require a year of separation first, so you'll want to start that right away.

Decide Between No-fault and Fault-based

One of the first things to figure out with your divorce attorney is what kind of divorce fits your situation the best. Since your spouse won't cooperate, the decision on which divorce to file for is yours. You are able to obtain a no-fault divorce in every state, which means you don't have to prove that your spouse was at fault for the marriage ending. That may seem like an easier route, but you may want to file a fault-based divorce in circumstances where your spouse caused problems that make you feel that you should have a certain part of your property or the sole custody of any children. Filing a fault-based divorce and being able to prove that fault is more likely to get you those benefits. 

Accept the Hard Road

Consensual, uncontested divorces are easier. Unfortunately, you cannot force your spouse to be on your same page. If they refuse to cooperate, you have a hard road ahead of you. If they absolutely will not participate, you have to do all the work yourself. You may even need to subpoena financial statements or other important documents that the court needs, which is a lengthy and costly process. If your spouse does not want a divorce and is willing to contest it, you could end up in a drawn-out court battle. This is difficult for everyone involved, but all you can do is be as responsible as you can about your paperwork and showing up for court dates. 

See a Therapist

If your spouse doesn't want to get divorced, they are likely painting themselves as an innocent victim to everyone involved, like your kids or other family members. This is likely extremely troubling for you. If you are overcome with guilt about putting your spouse through a divorce they didn't want, then you should absolutely talk with a therapist to help you sort through these emotions. You weren't the only person in this relationship; your spouse made mistakes that ended the marriage too, and it's healthy for you to recognize that. 

No matter how amicable, a marriage ending is always difficult. Your spouse refusing to participate in the divorce can make things extra hard on you and your family. For more information about how to proceed under these circumstances, contact a divorce attorney near you.