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What Can I Do If My Spouse Doesn’t Want To Divorce?

Commonly, when one spouse decides that divorce is the right life choice for them, the other spouse does not agree. Indeed, it is actually uncommon for both spouses to come to that decision at the same time or together. Luckily, in most states, both spouses do not have to agree, but when one spouse does not agree, they can drag out the process and make it much more complicated and expensive. This is why it is so important to help the other spouse at least get to a place of acceptance.


First, if the divorce is a need because of abusive and controlling behavior, the divorce-wanting spouse must understand that even speaking about a divorce could put one or their children in danger. A rejected abuser that feels like they are losing everything is unpredictable. For these divorce-wanting spouses, speak with an attorney to make a safety plan because attempting an amicable is not the goal. Instead, the goal is simply a safe divorce, and making a plan for that is essential.

Seeking help

If abuse is not an issue, the first step is still seeking help from an attorney to get one’s legal options, but then also consulting with a marriage counselor. For spouses hoping to reconcile, marriage counselors can help, or at least show that the divorce-wanting spouse is trying. Simply gently raising the subject of divorce can get this conversation started.


It is extremely important to frame the split appropriately and not in a vindictive way or as a power move. The divorce-wanting spouse should make it apparent and known that their intention is not to hurt the other spouse. This can be done by speaking with kindness and being helpful, but always firm in one’s decision. Do not mislead the other spouse, but do not be crass or callous.


Again, speak up and let the other spouse know of one’s unhappiness. Do not wait for a crisis to bring up divorce or to suggest marital counseling. Find a counselor now or at the first sign of marital strife. Working through issues early can help avoid divorce, or at least help both spouses come to the realization that divorce is the right answer. The key takeaway for New York, New York, residents is that one should not try to game the system. Just like a good marriage, a good divorce is best when both parties work on it equally.




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