Sometimes a woman will decide her marriage is unsalvageable, and divorce is the only option. What does a woman who wants a divorce do when her spouse isn’t ready to pull the plug?
This type of situation can require different approaches depending on the circumstances. Maybe it’s just a matter of the wife gently helping her spouse to understand that things have changed. In worst case scenarios, a woman might find herself dealing with a husband who refuses to cooperate, and who stymies efforts to begin the legal separation. When kids are involved, this can make an already difficult situation worse.
This article was written to provide some basic information for women who are considering a divorce, but aren’t convinced their husbands are ready to deal with reality. If you find yourself in this situation, and are unsure about what your next move should be, consider contacting our office to schedule a consultation. You don’t have to make these decisions by yourself.
Is It A Matter of Reluctance on the Part of the Husband? Or Belligerence?
People change. Relationships change. But sometimes, one party in the relationship doesn’t realize a change has occurred. While a woman who finds herself in this type of scenario shouldn’t hesitate to consult a family law attorney to discuss her options, the solution might first lie in helping the husband to understand that things have changed.
It’s important to remember that a woman who’s been contemplating separation for a while has had the benefit of experiencing and understanding the change in her feelings for a long time. Meanwhile, the husband who’s totally oblivious, might be blindsided by sudden talk of divorce. It might not be wise to come out guns blazing with a divorce petition. Family counseling might be in order. A licensed mental health professional will ideally help spouses in this situation untangle their emotions so that they can proceed with the next steps. Simply put, the answer might be more time.
But what about situations where the marriage has soured, and the husband refuses to listen to reason—perhaps he’s even belligerent in this refusal? Continue reading to learn a little about how family law works when it comes to difficult husbands.
When Your Husband is Stubborn, or Worse
It’s important to mention right off the bat that if your husband is defiant in his refusal to consider divorce, and is physically abusive, it might be necessary to consider obtaining a restraining order. This step might also be helpful when it comes to obtaining custody of your children.
What if My Husband Refuses all Cooperation in the Divorce?
This is a potential scenario. A husband simply refuses to respond to a divorce summons or even to appear in court. This type of tactic could be used to frustrate and intimidate a spouse with limited understanding of the law. In this type of situation, it’s important to remember that the judge doesn’t care about your stubborn husband’s feelings. If your husband insists on stonewalling, the judge will issue a divorce by default. However, filing errors made on your part could potentially draw out the process. This is why it’s so important that you speak to a lawyer if you’re dealing with a difficult ex to make sure you consider every potential pitfall.
My Husband Has Threatened to Draw the Process Out and Bankrupt Me
Family court calendars are clogged with the cases of warring spouses. Unfortunately, when a person is bound and determined to draw out a divorce proceeding, there are many opportunities for that person to make good on his threats. But the good news is that the Family Code was written to encourage settlement between divorcing spouses. And in cases where one spouse attempts to stymie the settlement process, sanctions in the form of hefty fines are a possibility.
“The court may base an award of attorney’s fees and costs on the extent to which the conduct of each party or attorney furthers or frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of litigation and, where possible, to reduce the cost of litigation by encouraging cooperation.”
While sanctions against your husband may not be enough to solve the conflicts you’re having, it’s another tool that you can use when going through a divorce.
I’ve Told My Husband I Want a Divorce, and He Refuses to Leave the House, What Now?
This is another area where a difficult husband can continue to cause problems and draw out the separation process. As mentioned earlier, if your husband is abusive to either you or your children, or struggles with addiction or alcoholism, it might be possible obtain a restraining order. This should be done with the help of an attorney.
However, if a restraining order is not possible, and the husband either owns the house, or you both own the house, it might be necessary to decide if it might be better for you to move out while the divorce proceeds. Or, depending on the situation, you might file the divorce petition and request temporary custody of the children. If successful, this will diminish your husband’s ability to leverage the children while you pursue finalization of the divorce.
What’s important to remember in this scenario, is that while there might be anxiety and emotional pain in the short term, your husband cannot simply continue to stonewall the divorce process indefinitely. California is a community property state, and as a spouse, you are entitled to half of the marital property. Once a petition for divorce is filed, and the process begins, a judge will decide how to divide the community assets, whether your husband likes it or not.
Is it Time for you to Contact an Attorney?
If you’ve been considering divorcing a stubborn husband, you already know without reading this article that the challenges are daunting. Family law is complex, and filing errors have the ability to trip up divorce proceedings and cause things to drag on. Why not talk to a skilled family lawyer who will help you through the process as quickly as possible, and work hard to ensure that you get all that you’re legally entitled to?
If you have questions about divorcing a difficult husband, or another family law related issue, contact the office of Family Lawyer Jason Smith to find out how he can help.