When it comes to divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to desire a divorce, while the other spouse wishes to continue on with the marriage. Although, as a practical matter, one spouse cannot prevent another spouse from seeking a divorce, it can be incredibly frustrating for the spouse who desires to end the marriage if the other spouse simply refuses to discuss, participate in or advance the divorce process. So, what can a spouse who desires divorce do?
Well, one option is for the spouse seeking divorce to retain the services of a divorce attorney to initiate divorce proceedings and compel the other spouse to respond to the divorce proceeding. However, if one spouse is opposed to the divorce, he or she may take steps to simply delay the process, which will ultimately cost the initiating spouse more money in attorney’s fees.
Alternatively, a spouse seeking divorce from a reluctant spouse may take any of the following courses of action prior to initiating the divorce process. Taking one or more of the steps outlined below may help a reluctant spouse accept the dissolution of the marriage, and thus reduce the time and attorney’s fees necessary to complete the divorce process.
Seek the help of a couple’s counselor. Divorce is one of the most stressful and emotional tumultuous ordeals many people endure. This stress is not only felt by the spouse who does not want the divorce, but is also experienced by the spouse who is seeking divorce. With this in mind, individual or couple’s counseling may be the best way to help both parties explore whether divorce is the most appropriate option. Additionally, if both parties are willing to participate, couple’s counseling may be the best place for spouses to communicate concerning each parties feelings about divorce.
Be patient. Although this may seem counter intuitive, it may be best for individuals seeking divorce from reluctant spouses to exercise patience and compassion. Offering to listen to the other spouse’s concerns, and giving the other spouse the time and opportunity to express his or her hurt, anger or resistance may prove beneficial, because after taking time to fully express his or her initial reaction to the prospect of divorce, a reluctant spouse may come to realize that divorce is the appropriate option.
Communicate. Approaching the subject of divorce can be problematic. Although it is important for the spouse seeking divorce to fully explain his or her feelings to the other spouse, it is also important for the spouse seeking divorce to engage in a dialogue with the other spouse. Put plainly, conversations about divorce should not be one sided, but should be a two way street. Often, just being able to candidly express their feelings on the subject can help a reluctant spouse begin to accept the reality of divorce.