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He won’t drop the divorce even though we’re seeing a counselor

July 17, 2017

Divorce is a serious step to take, and couples often give counseling a try in an attempt to save the marriage.

You may find yourself in a situation where you’re going to counseling with your spouse, but he’s still proceeding with the divorce. What should you do here? You have a few options.

Proceed with the Divorce Process While Going to Counseling

Divorce can be a scary and difficult decision to make. That often leads to couples hanging on to a poor relationship for far too long. You don’t want to end up wasting your time and money just because you’re worried about getting divorced.

The divorce process often takes months, and some states also have mandatory waiting periods before a court can even finalize the divorce. In California, for example, there’s a six-month waiting period that starts after one spouse files the petition for divorce and has the other party served.

Depending on how far along you are in the divorce process, you may want to proceed as planned while you and your spouse attend regular counseling sessions. If you two decide against the divorce, you can always retract it. This way, if you two do find that you want to go through with the divorce, you can do that without making the process take even longer.

Talk to Your Spouse About a Postponement

There’s also the option of postponing a divorce. You can do this if you and your spouse are close to finalizing it, or even earlier on in the process. Let the court know that you two are attending counseling and would like more time to see if you can fix your issues.

It’s much more likely that the court will grant a postponement for you if you and your husband are both asking for one together. A divorce court won’t want to force a couple into getting a divorce, and when both parties request a postponement, it will typically be fine with that.

Where you’ll have an issue is if it’s only you asking for the postponement while your spouse still wants to proceed with the divorce. Although a court doesn’t want to force a couple to divorce, it also doesn’t force couples to stay together, and the reality is that in many divorces, one party wants the divorce while the other wants to remain married. Talk to your spouse about postponing the divorce and see what he says.

See What Your Lawyer Can Do

If asking your spouse about a postponement fails, you may have better luck talking to your divorce lawyer about it. There are a couple options a skilled divorce lawyer can try in this scenario.

Your lawyer could get in touch with your spouse’s lawyer and convince him to ask his client about postponing the divorce. No lawyer likes spending time working on a divorce that doesn’t go through. If it looks like you two could reconcile through counseling, it’s in both lawyers’ best interests to postpone everything.

Your lawyer could also explain that if your spouse doesn’t agree postpone the divorce, then he’ll slow down the divorce proceedings. This option is more difficult and could backfire, as the court doesn’t like when lawyers file unnecessary motions or intentionally delay cases. It could even result in you being held responsible for the extra costs your spouse incurs from his lawyer due to the increased hours. That being said, your lawyer can simply use the threat of a delay as a bargaining chip without actually going through with it.

Counseling During a Divorce

Getting counseling is smart when you’re going through a divorce. It can help you and your spouse know if you’re making the right decision, and you can also see a counselor on your own to work through personal issues.

If your spouse agrees to go to counseling, that’s a good sign, since it shows that he’s willing to work on the marriage. Even if he continues to proceed with the divorce as normal, he could still decide to withdraw it if you two make progress during your sessions.

Postponing the divorce is typically the best option when you and your spouse are going to counseling, but it almost always requires both of your cooperation. Regardless of whether you postpone your divorce, you should prepare for it to go through either way, as counseling may not work.

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