What To Do When Your Spouse Doesn't Want a Divorce

What can you do when your spouse doesn't want a divorce?  Texas is a no fault divorce state. That means anyone who wants a divorce can get one.  The question is how to go about it without making any already difficult situation worse.

I’ve seen way too many end of the game mediations when spouses are expected to settle their differences after lawyers have created irreconcilable conflict, charged exorbitant amounts of money on both sides, and have left the spouses in deep debt and hating each other.  Decisions feel forced and that causes long term resentment.  Everyone suffers (except the lawyers).  

I’ve designed early mediation to avoid as much of that as possible by promoting problemsolving that binds spouses together in their hard work and efforts to find mutually acceptable, decent, ethical, divorce, custody, and support terms.  Each spouse maintains as much financial security as possible and fosters a meaningful co-parenting relationship for the benefit of their children and themselves.

For all of these reasons, the person who doesn’t want a divorce is the one who benefits the most from early mediation.  It is hard to face the reality that divorce is coming.  Often the resistant spouse refuses to participate in the divorce (or simply feels they can’t) out of fear or anger.  That means the other spouse is compelled to get a lawyer to move forward even if they don’t want to. 

The only way anyone can stay in complete control of their own decisionmaking and futures in divorce is to do mediation from the beginning.  That is empowering.  The opposite happens when everything is done to them because they refuse to engage.  And the court will require every couple to mediate anyway (except where there is family violence).

Resist tactics such as threats, rolling of eyes, disdain, criticism, etc. which will only make your spouse less willing to want to do early mediation.  Try a therapist to see if there really is a way to save the marriage.  If that doesn’t work, and you still want a divorce, then talk with the therapist about how to have a calm, constructive, supportive conversation with your spouse about ending the marriage peacefully.  Be kind and honest with your spouse, the parent of your children, and encourage him or her to participate freely and fairly with you in both of your best interests. Then be patient as hard as it may be, because your spouse will need time to process and to get to the place where he or she has the wherewithall to rationally engage with you in early mediation.  I'm happy to do a free consultation to discuss with each of you how Detente can help.