Couples sometimes realize that they can no longer have a healthy relationship and mutually decide to divorce. There are times, however, in which one partner is ready to end the marriage even though the other wishes to stay married. While you may end your marriage in Washington unilaterally, a reluctant spouse could slow down or complicate the process.
Why would a spouse not want a divorce?
There are several reasons why spouses try to hang onto a relationship. Identifying your spouse’s concerns before moving forward could provide you with a strategy for ending your marriage:
• Religious beliefs: Your spouse is a member of a religion that forbids or discourages divorce.
• Belief that the relationship can be saved: Your spouse believes that the two of you can overcome your differences.
• Concerns about finances: Your spouse may be concerned about his or her lifestyle post-breakup.
• Anger and a desire to punish: Some spouses become vindictive and try to make the other partner stay in the marriage as a form of punishment.
• Your partner is abusive: Abusers often resist divorce because they feel entitled to their spouse’s attention and submission.
Managing the conflict
Once you understand why your spouse wishes to stay married, you’ll be in a better position to respond. If you are in an abusive marriage, for example, get support and guidance from an experienced domestic violence agency that can guide you in safely leaving your marriage.
Concerns about finances might be addressed by hiring a financial advisor who specializes in post-divorce financial health. The advisor might recommend asset division and rebuilding strategies that can help both of you reduce the financial impact of divorce.
Counseling and mediation could also help your spouse accept that your marriage is over and that you plan to move forward with a divorce even if he or she doesn’t want to cooperate. Usually, it’s in the best interest of both spouses to participate in the divorce.
You should remain firm in your decision and make it clear that you will leave the marriage. Dispelling unfounded hopes can help your spouse adjust to the situation and can pave the way toward an amicable divorce.