You cannot stop your spouse from filing for a divorce whether you are legally separated or not. Marriages are entered at free will, and the decision to exit is also at free will. Many people are not sure on the difference between divorce and legal separation. A divorce is the dissolution of a marriage. In a legal separation, on the other hand, a couple remains married but lives separately.
Why Legally Separate Instead of Divorce?
In a legal separation, the couple can work out their issues before a divorce. It acts as a step of preparation. They can decide how they will distribute financial duties and how custody arrangements will work.
A legal separation is a temporary option allowing the two individuals to resolve their issues. If they decide to get back together, then they can do so without having to worry.
Whether one chooses a divorce or legal separation is based on their preferences and what works best for their family.
There are also states that require couples filing a no-fault divorce to legally separate first for a set period of time usually 6 months to a year. After this period if they still feel a divorce is the only option then they can go ahead with it. A separation agreement is signed and after the specified time it becomes a divorce agreement.
Couples can opt for legal separation instead of divorce for a number of reasons that have been discussed above. This is done at the couple’s discretion. Legal separation could turn into a divorce in states where it is mandatory to legally separate before divorce. However, legal separation is not divorce and does not have to be unless couples determine that they want to move on from one another.
Divorce can be contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both individuals have agreed to the basic issues in the divorce such as child custody arrangements, spousal financial support, and property division. If all of these issues are resolved, there is no need to go to court and the divorce can be finalized without any issues.
A contested divorce is one where the two spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. It could be that one party wants too much alimony, or the two are in disagreement on child custody arrangements. Whatever the scenario, contested divorces have to go through a court process where a judge decides who gets to live with the children and how much spousal support will be given, if any.
If you want to stop a divorce between you and your spouse, you cannot do it legally. You may opt for mediation to resolve the issues between the two of you if your spouse agrees to it.
Mediation is a beneficial form of conflict resolution where a neutral party steps in to help you determine the cause of your problems and find a solution that is best for the two of you. Often, you might find that divorce is the best option and vote to go on with the divorce process willingly. In other cases, you and your spouse might realize that the relationship is salvageable and decide to sort your issues out.
The Process of Divorce in All States
You first have to either get a divorce lawyer or visit the county clerk in your local government offices.
The attorney can file for a divorce petition without the permission of your spouse. If you visit the county office, then the process is the same only you will have to file for the divorce petition yourself. Your spouse does not have to sign the divorce papers.
On receipt of the divorce paper, they are given 30 days to respond. If they refuse to do so, then you will be granted an uncontested divorce by the court. It is always prudent to weigh your options before filing for divorce. A divorce lawyer will explain the implications of these decisions to help you make an informed choice.