What If My Spouse Is Not Accepting the Divorce?

What If My Spouse Is Not Accepting the Divorce?

When most couples finally decide to split, both spouses recognize the relationship is irreparable.  Often one spouse is not accepting divorce, though. That spouse may want to keep the relationship together, and they can often slow the divorce.  They cannot stop it, though.

Divorce cannot be stopped

In the old days, a divorce was really hard to get.  The spouse that wanted a divorce usually had to prove some “fault” on the part of the other spouse.  This was something like adultery or abuse. If you could not prove fault you could not get a divorce.  

As a practical matter, couples that simply wanted to go their separate ways would often pretend that the husband had an affair.  If a husband was not accepting divorce, he could go to court and prove he was not at fault and the court might leave the marriage in place.

Today, it is virtually impossible to stop a divorce.  If one spouse wants to get a divorce, he or she can eventually get it.  Let’s use Nevada as an example.  There, a married person simply has to show he or she is “incompatible” with his or her spouse.  

Judges rarely dig deeper into this issue.  A judge may deny a divorce in a rare case if the judge finds out the couple is still living together, but in most situations, if somebody says they want a divorce the judge will grant it.

A spouse can often slow a divorce

Divorce is not just about breaking the legal bonds between spouses.  Divorce also settles issues related to money and children. Courts take their responsibility to children very seriously, because spouses can often lose sight of their children’s needs during a split.   

Courts also have to oversee the splitting of a couple’s entire life, including their homes, their cars, and any other assets they have.  In many cases, courts sadly have to divide up a couple’s debts.

A spouse can often slow a divorce

If one spouse is not accepting divorce, he or she can often drag out the process of settling the property division and child-related issues.  The Nevada Bar points out, to use that example again, that judges in that state prefer that the spouses negotiate their own split of assets.  This is true in every court across the country.

In most situations, the couple will agree on a split of their assets, and the judge will simply review their agreement to make sure it is fair before he or she grants the divorce.  There is not much one spouse can do if the other spouse wants to drag out negotiations until the judge has to get involved and split the assets for the couple.

A combative spouse can slow the process.  Children are even more complicated. Splitting money just requires a judge to inventory the assets and decide on a fair split.  Deciding on complex issues related to children, like where the child should live, can require testimony from the kids, family members, and even psychologists.  If the spouses cannot agree the dispute can drag on for months.


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