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What happens when one spouse doesn't want to divorce?

The decision to divorce is not always a mutual one at least initially for many couples. Typically one spouse makes the decision to initiate divorce proceedings by filing for divorce. This action, while likely not a complete surprise to the non-filing spouse, may create emotional turmoil and result in conflict.

When one spouse takes the initial step to end a marriage, the other spouse may protest and resist. It's common for a divorce to be initiated by one spouse. Typically this spouse has agonized over the decision of whether or not to divorce for months or even years.

They've likely tried to engage their spouse in several discussions related to how to mend their broken relationship and maybe even have tried marriage counseling. In the end, however, the have arrived at the decision that their marriage is broken and not salvageable.

Marriages end for a variety of reasons including infidelity, differences in philosophies related to child rearing and financial matters, domestic violence and abuse or simply growing apart. Whatever the reason, the stresses associated with divorce are magnified when one spouse is opposed or resistant to going through with a divorce.

Luckily, Washington State is a no-fault state. This means an individual can file for divorce by simply stating that they believe their marriage to be irrevocably broken. This signals to the judge and court that there is no chance of reconciliation regardless of one party's objections.

If both spouses are not on the same page with regard to moving forward with a divorce, there can be additional stress and financial burdens. It's important, however, for the spouse who initiated the divorce to remember that their spouse cannot stop the divorce from proceeding. While they may not be in favor of the divorce and may even try to delay proceedings, a skilled divorce attorney will ensure matters proceed and the divorce settlement is finalized.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Non-Mutual Divorce: I Do...I Don't," Micki McWade, Aug. 14, 2012

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