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DivorceMy Spouse Does Not Want a Divorce: What Should I Do?

March 30, 2017

It would be nice if all marriages lasted.  It would also be great if all divorces were uncontested and free of acrimony. Unfortunately, there is no “perfect” marriage and a smooth divorce is not always possible.

Because New York has recognized no-fault divorce, the decision to divorce does not have to be mutual. It is enough that one party alleges that the marriage has broken down and the court will eventually grant a divorce (despite the unwilling spouse’s attempts to remain wed).

6 Strategies to Ask for A Divorce That is Not Mutual

  1. Enlist The Help of An Attorney

Regardless of how each spouse feels, it’s imperative to consult with an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law. Even if it is mutual, discussing the division of assets, custody, and parenting schedules (plus any other elements of a disintegrating marriage) can easily trigger stress, anger, anxiety, and sadness. With such an increase in intense emotion, it’s important to have an attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected, that you’re receiving or paying the proper amount of spousal maintenance or child support, and that custody and parenting time is established properly.

  1. Be compassionate

Each spouse should approach the other with empathy. Your decision to divorce may result in anger, sadness, and/or depression. If you are the partner initiating the conversation, offer to listen and to keep the lines of communication open.

While it is nearly impossible for emotions not to run high, the goal remains the same: to discuss the situation openly, honestly, and respectfully.

  1. Be Patient

Do not be surprised if your spouse is reluctant to divorce. If you are the one presenting the idea, you have already had time to let the thought sink in and better understand the ramifications of such a decision.

Although most couples know when the relationship has turned sour, the decision to end the marriage can still come as a shock. Let your soon-to-be ex have some time to digest the news, process his or her emotions, and come to terms with the request for a divorce.

  1. Find Out Which Divorce Method Works For You

If this is your first divorce, you may not know that there are numerous options from which to choose. If your spouse is obstinately dodging the divorce, it’s important to find an attorney sooner rather than later.

There are many options for divorce that are litigated in court. They can be mediated or resolved collaboratively.

  1. Be Ready for Stalling Tactics

It’s important to give your soon-to-be ex time to process the news of divorce; however, if your spouse is unwilling to accept your decision, you may need the help of an attorney to push the divorce through the courts.

  1. Resist the Impulse to Fight Back

It’s possible that your spouse may not be ready for this news. Your husband or wife may retaliate by blaming you, using your child(ren) as an excuse to stay together, or refusing to proceed. Do not allow his or her comments to instigate a fight. Rather, listen attentively and be ready to answer questions.

Finding an Attorney

It’s important to find an attorney who is experienced. At Clement Law, we help you understand your legal options, offer guidance, and assist you in making the right decision for your family.

If you’re contemplating divorce, we are here to help. Contact us here or call us at 212-683-9551.

The information contained in this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice; there is no warranty on this information and it does not in any way constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. All individuals are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their specific situation and facts. 


Further, e-mails or other correspondence with any member of this firm does not create an attorney-client relationship without the explicit written agreement between the parties

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