Divorce is usually a mutual decision, but there are times when one of the parties involved may not fully agree with this final determination. What happens when one of the parties vehemently opposes the divorce? Can you prevent your spouse from divorcing you?
You cannot force anyone into action
Every individual has rights and freedoms that are protected by law. Legally speaking, there is no way to force anyone to take any kind of action regarding a mutual decision. Therefore, all couples need open communication, mutual respect, and the willingness to listen as channels by which they can agree on things. If those channels are closed, or damaged, the situation becomes stressful for everyone involved.
Whether an argument against divorce is valid or not, it is still a situation where two adults need to transcend their deeply-rooted emotions and make an important choice. Therefore, if this is your case, do not go into a divorce thinking that you can “make” someone think or act a certain way. This may be the time to finally let go. Consider that.
Coming to terms with divorce
Having to argue with someone to remain married to you already says a lot about the relationship. Chances are that there are differences in communication and points of view that need to be addressed directly and as soon as possible. Reconciliation may or may not still be an option, however, the first step of the process is for spouses to mutually communicate their goals and determine if it is worth giving the marriage another try. If this is not a viable option there are other possible steps.
Contesting the divorce
Contesting a divorce means to legally argue against it. If you decide to contest a divorce, you will need a lawyer. Every time you contest anything in a court of law, you should provide the grounds upon which you are exerting this right. This does not mean that the divorce will be stopped; it simply means that a further inquiry must be made as far as the legitimacy of the grounds for contesting and whether they will be admissible for a final decision. All this does is extend the process, not avoid it.
If your state does not recognize fault grounds for contesting divorce, you can request the judge to consider reconciliation counseling. This will ultimately be the decision of the judge.
Mediation and Counseling
A judge may advice mediation, but not counseling. Mediation is a process where the couple meets with a third party that is trained in these cases, either a social worker or a lawyer, to objectively look at the pros and cons of divorce. The ultimate goal of mediation is not to save the marriage, but to determine whether the entire divorce journey applies to the couple. Sometimes couples may find that their differences are easy to mend with just brief intervention. Others find out that ending the marriage is the course of action. The benefit of mediation is that a third party’s point of view may help the couple see things differently for once.
Counseling is an individual and personal choice. Therefore, if you wish to seek marriage counseling before consenting to a divorce, you will need to communicate your wishes to your partner and let he or she make the choice to go to. If you cannot communicate directly with your spouse, your lawyer can speak to your spouse’s lawyer about it. Just like with mediation, the goal of counseling is not to convince your spouse to do anything. It is simply another opportunity to see what are the next steps to take. Need more information? Speak to one of our Manhattan divorce attorneys today.
What If I Want to Stop the Divorce After Filing Papers
There are some situations where the spouse who filed for divorce wants to withdraw their petition for divorce. If you’re the spouse that did not file for divorce, you might not be able to stop the process. You can contest the divorce, but most courts will not force the filing spouse to remain married.
The Timing of the Process
If you wish to stop the divorce proceedings, you’ll need to consider the timing of your request. If there’s been no judgement from the court, the parties can stop the process. It’s easier to stop the divorce when it’s early in the process.
Filing a Notice
The spouse who filed for the divorce has to head to the court clerk’s office and file a Notice of Revocation. It could be called by a different name depending on the court. The clerk will be able to tell you what form you need. This form must be filled out completely and returned to the clerk who will stamp them.
If the divorce is too far along, the court might require the other spouse’s consent to stop the divorce. You’ll have to serve your spouse with a copy of the dismissal notice, or it can be done by the court itself. You don’t have to use a process server or a sheriff to deliver the notice.
Issues Stopping the Divorce
- Other spouse wants to continue with the divorce
- There are safety issues due to abuse
- One spouse was pretending to stop the divorce as a delay tactic
A spouse who pretends to file a notice to stop the divorce, or files a notice but files for divorce again can be charged with a crime. Divorce fraud can be a serious offense and result in contempt of court or criminal charges.
Counterclaims in the Proceedings
If your spouse answered the divorce petition with his own counterclaims, you might not be able to stop the divorce on your own. A counterclaim is a petition for divorce in answer to the original petition. This means that he’ll have to file a petition to stop the divorce too.
Property During the Divorce
If either side has gained property during the divorce proceedings, that property can become an asset of the marriage. If the couple was separated before or after the divorce petition, that issue can become complicated. The spouse may wish to have the property remain separate from the marriage.
Once the Divorce is Finalized
If the couple has waited too long to stop the divorce proceedings, it can become complicated to stop the divorce. If the judge has granted a judgement, you might have to file additional motions with the court to stop the judgement.
Mediation or Counseling
Some judges might order the couple into mediation or counseling to avoid a divorce. One of the spouses may ask the court to force the other side into mediation, but that might not always work. The courts don’t like when a spouse tries to delay the proceedings with unreasonable tactics.
While it’s easy to file a motion with the courthouse to stop a divorce in the early stages, in later stages of the proceedings, a lawyer will be needed. There are motions and processes in place to stop the divorce but only if both sides are agreeable. That is not always the case. A manhattan divorce lawyer can help with the entire divorce process including a motion to stop the divorce if that’s what you want.