By the time you are ready to file for divorce, you have probably spent endless hours soul-searching and months, or even years, trying to make your marriage work.
Before making this decision, you may have pleaded with your husband or wife to go to couples counseling only to be met with resistance. Once you have found that you are ready to end the marriage, your spouse may beg you to stay or even refuse to participate in the process in an effort to keep you from moving forward.
Being in this situation can be heartbreaking and frustrating, but there are steps you can take.
Here are some considerations about what to do when your spouse doesn’t want to divorce, but you do.
Consider Using a Counselor
Although there is nothing to prevent you from initiating the divorce, the fact that you have tried to talk about it with your spouse beforehand may be an indication that you would prefer to end the relationship amicably.
If your partner doesn’t want to divorce but will see a counselor with you, this can provide a safe forum for you both to express your feelings. Once your spouse hears you explain why you have come to this decision and feels you have listened to their side, it may help each of you move towards the divorce.
Be Compassionate and Listen
While you have had time to get used to the idea of divorce, your spouse may be shocked when you let them know you want to leave the marriage. If possible, be compassionate and let him or her talk about their feelings.
If your husband or wife has a specific reason for wanting to remain in the marriage such as finances, your children, or just not being able to accept the divorce, this is an opportunity for the two of you to talk through these issues. When your partner feels heard and that you care about his or her perspective, it can help make things easier as you go through the process.
Be Prepared if Your Spouse Refuses to Cooperate
In some situations, being careful with your spouse’s feelings will not make them accept the divorce and cooperate with the process. He or she may do things such as evade service, engage in delay tactics, and prolong negotiations while never intending to settle.
Trying to divorce under these conditions can be stressful and complicated, and it would be best to have an experienced family law attorney to help you manage these issues.