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My Spouse Wants a Divorce, But I Don’t. What Can I Do?
Divorce is almost always a traumatic experience, even if you are the spouse seeking the divorce. Untangling lives and deciding what happens with the children creates stress for even the rare couple whose split up is amicable. It’s certainly worse for the spouse who doesn’t want their marriage to end.
My Spouse Left Me and the Kids, But I Don’t Want to File For Divorce
If your spouse abandoned you and your children, but you don’t want to file for divorce there are legal remedies to ensure your families’ financial security. You can seek child support and spousal support without having to file for divorce.
Aside from support, you may want to take care of other issues by filing a separation agreement (referred to as a postnuptial agreement). This agreement allows you to address issues such as child support, child custody, alimony and the division of property and debts. It will allow you to obtain everything a divorce would except you are not free to remarry.
There are many reasons why a couple may opt for a separation agreement instead of divorce. A couple may not be ready to take the final step of completely severing the bonds of marriage. One or both spouses may have religious reasons as to why they are opposed to divorce. Sometimes a separation agreement is done so that one spouse can remain on the other spouse’s benefits.
Regardless of the reason, a separation agreement is an option open to any married couple. You should discuss the pros and cons of a postnuptial agreement versus a divorce with an experienced family law attorney.
You Can’t Stop a Divorce, But You Can Slow It Down
In Florida, as with many states, if your spouse files for divorce (called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”) but you don’t want it, you can’t stop the divorce from happening. You can file a counterclaim and request counseling, this is more likely to succeed with there are children involved. The court may order up to three months of counseling to enable an attempt at reconciliation.
Even if counseling is ordered, this will not stop the divorce process from moving forward but may delay it. If you don’t respond the divorce process will move forward without your participation and input. This puts you at a major disadvantage, your spouse may get the relief they requested without your having any say in the matter.
In Florida, you do not need to prove fault in order to be granted a divorce. There are only two grounds for divorce in Florida: Irreconcilable Differences and Mental Incapacity. Irreconcilable differences are the most commonly filed grounds for divorce and does not require you to prove fault on behalf of the other party.
There are other reasons why you should answer the divorce complaint. Other important issues can be addressed in the divorce process. You can file an answer requesting to be heard on the division of property, child custody, spousal support and child support. Once you have been served with a divorce complaint you have 20 days to respond. If you don’t respond within 20 days, the divorce will move forward without you.
Contact an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer from McMichen, Cinami & Demps. We offer a free, no-obligations consultation and will listen to understand your situation.