In most divorce cases, both parties agree the marriage is not working and that divorce is the best answer. But what if you are blindsided by your spouse’s decision and you truly do not want a divorce? Can you legally disagree? Can you stop the divorce from happening?
While every state allows for no-fault divorce (meaning neither party has to be blamed), there are 17 true no-fault states. What this means is that these states do not allow one party to contest the divorce. Florida is one of these states, so if your spouse wants a divorce, there will be a divorce.
The courts in Florida do require a waiting period, though. In many cases, reconciliation is a possibility, so the state requires a 20-day cooling down period once one of the parties files for divorce. This is not a lengthy time period at all, as it is under three weeks. However, it gives the couple some time to discuss the situation, try to work on their marriage, and see if divorce is really the best idea.
If the divorce does move forward, the person who does not want the divorce may try to slow things down by refusing to sign paperwork or compromise with the spouse in any way. They will do what they can to delay the process in hopes that their spouse will come around and change their mind. Instead, this just angers the spouse even more and makes it so reconciliation is off the table.
So if your spouse threatens divorce, what should you do? How should you react? Here are some steps to take.
Your first reaction to your spouse wanting a divorce may be to get upset and start yelling, but it is better to stay calm and get some information first before jumping to conclusions. Is the divorce simply a threat or a real decision? Has your spouse done anything yet, such as hire a lawyer or file for divorce? While you may be anxious and scared, it is best to stay calm so you can understand what is going on and think clearly.
Discuss the Situation
Being calm will help you with step, which is talking to your spouse about what happened. Why did they make the decision to divorce? What has changed in the marriage? Is there any way to fix things? What about counseling? Make sure your spouse understands how you feel, but do so without yelling or getting defensive, which will only shut down your spouse and make matters worse.
View the situation from your spouse’s perspective. Validate their feelings, even if you do not necessarily agree with them. We all see things from different perspectives, so it is possible your marriage was not as great as you thought it was. Also, you should take responsibility for your actions. Admit you were wrong. Is there anything you can do to change your behavior and fix the marriage? If you agree to do something to fix the marriage, then you need to follow through. If you make false promises, your spouse will follow through with the divorce, so this is your last chance to make things right.
Try to Take Things Slow
A divorce is a major decision and it is not one that should be decided in the heat of a moment. It is an irreversible decision that requires a lot of thought. Therefore, you should advise your spouse to take some time to really think about this decision. Sometimes time can change your mind.
Consider Mediation or Collaborative Divorce
If your spouse does decide to move on with a divorce, do it in an amicable way. Consider mediation or collaborative divorce, which will allow you and your spouse to make agreements together. By divorcing amicably, you will stay out of the courtroom, which reduces costs as well as drama.
Accept Reality and Move on
In the end, if your spouse really wants a divorce, then it will happen. If their mind is made up, then there is nothing you can do to change it. Your spouse has already moved on emotionally, so they are waiting for this divorce to get finalized so they can move on physically. Accept the situation, as it will help with your mental health. After all, why would you want to be married to someone who does not want to be married to you?
Take Care of Yourself
A divorce is always harder for the person who does not want it. You are likely very stressed out and angry, but the best thing you can do is take care of yourself physically and mentally. Get plenty of rest and make sure to eat well and exercise. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy doing. See a counselor if you need to so you can get past your emotions and move on.
Seek Legal Help
If your spouse wants a divorce in Florida, there will be a divorce. While you can discuss the situation with your spouse and try to convince them to change their mind, there is nothing you can do to legally stop a divorce. You cannot deny it or prevent it from happening in the eyes of the law.
Even if you do not want a divorce, you will still need legal help. Count on Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to help you through this emotional time. Schedule a consultation to get started. Fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.