What if My Spouse Wants a Divorce Even Though I Do Not?

Understanding and Managing Your Situation When Divorce Is Not Mutual in Miami

Hearing that your partner wants a divorce can be heartbreaking. Getting a divorce is such a big decision, and it changes your entire life. If one spouse wants a divorce, and the other one does not, it is difficult to manage expectations. Fighting against divorce can sometimes make things worse, particularly if your partner has been thinking about this for a long time.

There are options to try to save a marriage through marriage counseling and mediation. However, if your wife or husband tells you they want a divorce, you need to get prepared and protect your best interests. The best way to do this is by hiring a divorce lawyer and figuring out what you are entitled to.

Miami Family Law Group, PLLC has helped many people in situations similar to yours, and we understand how difficult it is to face a divorce that you are not prepared for. Divorce proceedings can be extremely stressful, and you need to ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process.

This means protecting your assets, fighting to get an equal share, and preserving your relationship with your children. Our attorneys have significant experience with Florida divorce law, and we will do everything in our power to protect your best interests.

Our law firm takes a holistic approach, meaning we prioritize safeguarding your mental health and general well-being during the divorce. We will put you in touch with wealth advisers, financial planners, and mental health professionals from our network. We care about you, and we want to make this painful process easier to manage.

Call our law firm today at 305-520-7874 to schedule a consultation.

Getting a Divorce in Florida

Getting a divorce is a major decision for couples in Florida. Often, a person thinks about getting a divorce for a long time before actually talking about it with their partner. If you and your partner have irreconcilable differences or have lived apart for a long time, you may expect a divorce to happen.

However, sometimes one spouse wants a divorce and the other one is completely oblivious to any existing problems. In these situations, or in situations when one spouse wants a divorce and the other wants to stay married, it is important to think about your best options. During this time, it is important to speak with your friends, family, and a counselor or therapist.

Getting a divorce in Florida is a lengthy process that requires significant paperwork, negotiation, sacrifice, and tough decisions. The divorce process also takes a long time, so you and your spouse have some time to speak about the marriage or try to fix things if that is what the other person wants. However, if not, you need to hire a family law attorney to protect your best interests from the beginning.

Is it Possible to Save a Troubled Marriage?

When your spouse says they want a divorce, and you want to stay married, you may be tempted to do everything you can to save the marriage. This could include pursuing your partner, pleading with them, and focusing on them more than yourself. In reality, each marriage is different. Some marriages may be salvageable through mediation and marriage counseling, and others are not.

Studies show that only 50-66% of people are certain they want a divorce, and many feel tempted to give up before trying to save a troubled marriage. However, it is possible to work on a difficult marriage through marriage counseling, discernment counseling, marital mediation, or taking a break from each other. Seeking counseling is a great option for couples who are hoping to repair the marriage.

However, if one partner is adamant that they want a divorce and do not want to engage in counseling or reparation methods, then it may not be possible to save the marriage. It is important to remain calm, not engage in bad-mouthing, and not say the wrong thing to start fights between you and your partner. The more amicable the situation can be between you, the easier the process will be.

What if My Spouse Wants a Divorce Even Though I Do Not?

When your spouse requests a divorce and this is not what you want, there are certain things that you should and should not do. The most important thing in this situation is to protect yourself and ensure that you have a support system around you. There may be an option for reconciliation, or it may be necessary to speak with a divorce lawyer.

  • Determine if the request is legitimate - Your spouse may say they want a divorce in the heat of an argument and not actually mean it. It is important to let the situation calm down and check with your spouse if they definitely want a divorce before hiring a lawyer.
  • Focus on your best self - Facing a divorce that you did not plan can be a major blow to your mental well-being. It is easy to forget about yourself during this time and focus solely on fixing the relationship or trying to win your partner back. However, this is the best time to focus on yourself and do things you enjoy.
  • Prioritize your children - If you have children with your spouse, it is important not to get them involved in the divorce. Avoid bad-mouthing your partner to the children, attempting to convince them to pick sides, or getting them too involved. Try to co-parent as best as possible to protect your children.
  • Mediate - If possible, try to mediate the situation with your partner. This could be through counseling or with the help of a neutral mediator to figure out marital issues.
  • Contact an attorney - Once you are certain that your partner wants a divorce and there is no way to fix the relationship, contact a lawyer to protect your best interests. Miami Family Law Group, PLLC is ready to help you through this difficult situation by advising you on divorce laws, protecting your legal rights, and putting you in contact with a support system to guide you through the divorce.

Should I Ignore the Divorce Petition?

When you do not want to divorce, you may be tempted to ignore the divorce papers that come through your door from your spouse. However, ignoring a divorce petition is the worst thing you can do. In Florida, if you ignore a divorce petition for over 20 days, the judge can issue a default judgment against you.

When a default judgment is passed, the judge accepts all the terms of your spouse in their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. They can enter the default judgment without even conducting a hearing, so you cannot contest the issues. This means you could lose property and assets, lose your rights to petition for spousal support, and be left in a very challenging situation.

It is best to avoid this situation by responding to a petition as quickly as possible. However, if you are too overwhelmed or were in a difficult situation when you received the petition, and you are now subject to a default judgment, do not panic. An experienced lawyer can help you get the judgment overturned and fight to get your voice heard.

Overturning a Default Judgment in Florida

To overturn a default judgment in Florida, you must prove one of the following elements:

Excusable Neglect

In these cases, there is a legitimate reason for not responding to the petition. A legitimate reason could be a medical situation or a life emergency, for example. You cannot argue that you did not know about the requirement to respond within 20 days.

Meritorious Defense

In these cases, you must provide a legitimate defense based on facts as to why you did not respond and why the default judgment should be overturned. This defense must be provided as an affidavit or formal pleading.

Due Diligence

You must prove that you exercised due diligence after realizing that the divorce had ended in a default judgment. This can include contacting a divorce lawyer, submitting documentation, and taking appropriate legal steps within a certain time period. Generally, if it took several months to respond to the default judgment, a judge is less likely to overturn the judgment.

It is overwhelming to receive notification of a divorce that you were not expecting. You may feel rushed, distressed, and unable to gather your thoughts. However, if you do not take steps to prevent a default judgment in the first place, it can cause you even more stress. We recommend contacting a lawyer as soon as you suspect a pending divorce.

The divorce attorneys at Miami Family Law Group, PLLC can help you deal with a petition for divorce. We can handle the legal process on your behalf and put you in contact with mental health professionals to ensure that you engage in self-care. If you have received a default judgment, we will work to get this overturned and ensure that you have a say in the divorce decree.

Types of Divorce in Florida

To file for divorce in Florida, you must show that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that at least one party has lived in Florida for over six months. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, so you do not need to prove that the other party caused the marriage to end. The type of divorce you opt for depends on the type of relationship you have.

Contested Divorce

Often, when one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn't, the divorce is "contested." This means that one party files a divorce petition and does not agree with the other on important marital issues. With a contested divorce, the parties must go before a judge and try to resolve important matters. The judge may order mediation between the parties or use divorce law formulas to resolve issues.

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce, both parties have an attorney trained in mediation representing them. The parties, along with their attorneys, work together to achieve an amicable decision. Unlike a contested divorce, the parties are not blaming each other for the dissolution of the marriage, but they are working together to come to a fair agreement.

Divorce Mediation in Florida

Offered as an alternative to divorce litigation, divorce mediation is when couples try to resolve marital issues with the help of a neutral mediator. The job of the mediator is to listen to the concerns of both parties and offer potential solutions to these problems. Couples can voice their concerns about important marital issues, including division of marital property, child custody, and spousal support, and they will try to come to an amicable solution rather than taking their case to court.

If you choose mediation, you gain more power over the divorce proceedings. When a divorce decree is decided by a judge, your unique circumstances are not considered. Because judges deal with so many cases, they do not have the time to think about your financial situation or your physical and mental health. They will often apply formulas or legal standards to your divorce to come up with a solution. This can lead to less time with your children, no spousal support, or losing important assets.

With mediation, you can openly talk about your concerns and needs with your spouse and a third-party mediator. This is a much better option for relationships where one party wants a divorce and the other does not. Both parties can talk about their feelings and try to address these through a fair divorce settlement. It encourages a healthier relationship after the divorce and can help you manage anger toward your spouse.

Divorce Matters in Florida

Deciding to divorce after several years of marriage can lead to a lot of issues that need to be resolved. If you were not expecting a divorce, dealing with these issues can be particularly difficult. Spouses often have different ideas of what a divorce will look like, and you may struggle to understand what you are entitled to.

Hiring a divorce attorney can ensure that you are aware of your entitlements and that you do not enter divorce proceedings feeling completely blind. A lawyer can guide you on your rights to property and assets, whether you can keep the family home, whether you should have primary custody of your children, and what is in your best interests overall.

Child Custody

When children are involved, a divorce can be especially difficult. The legal process can be quite traumatizing for children, as they must watch their parents live separately and fight over their marriage. Resolving child custody issues early on is in the best interests of your children, and prevents them from getting confused.

If your spouse is seriously considering and wants to file for divorce, discuss child custody matters straight away. You can apply for a temporary relief order from a judge to arrange a short-term agreement while awaiting the final divorce decree.

Depending on the living situation, you may remain in the family house with the children, or you may leave and bring the children with you. Each family is unique, and what is best for your children depends on what they are used to and the family situation. If you have been the primary caregiver of your children, and your spouse worked more than you, then keeping them with you is probably best for the children.

You can negotiate to get a joint custody arrangement in which the children live with you as the primary caregiver, and your husband or wife must find a separate living situation where the children can visit them. A lawyer can help you schedule time for visitation that works for you and your children.

Child Support

Child custody and child support usually go hand-in-hand. When one partner has primary custody of the children, the other parent must pay support for the children. This support goes towards their maintenance, education, care, and training. Florida's Child Support Guidelines offer guidance on how support should be calculated for each case. The amount is based on the income of the parents, the number of children, and custody arrangements.

Judges follow these guidelines for most cases unless there are circumstances that warrant extra support. These circumstances could include the unique mental or physical needs of the child, extra medical costs, or the standard of living they are used to. To receive extra child support, you must provide a compelling explanation to a judge, with proof of your unique situation.

Otherwise, you can opt for mediation and discuss this head-on with your spouse. If you have a good relationship and you hire a good mediator, you can come to a fair child support agreement without dragging it through the courts and risking huge financial costs and privacy invasions.

Property Division

In Florida, marital property is divided equitably between spouses, and non-marital property is kept separate. Property gained during the marriage can include assets, retirement plans, insurance benefits, stock options, physical property, and property that increased in value during the marriage.

During a divorce, it is important to decide on the division of property fairly. If not, and the case is brought to court, the judge will decide on the division of property, and you may lose out on important assets. A judge decides on property division based on the length of the marriage, marriage contributions by each spouse, the economic situation of both spouses, children involved in the marriage, the career and education of each spouse, and liabilities of each spouse.

If you are worried about losing out on assets or property during your divorce, it is vital that you seek legal representation. An attorney can help protect your interests and fight to ensure that you are not left in a difficult financial situation after a divorce.

What Should I Do if My Spouse Requests a Divorce?

If your spouse requests a divorce, the most important thing that you can do is get prepared. Going into a divorce unprepared is the worst thing you can do, and it may lead to a difficult financial situation. Getting prepared for divorce can mean the following:

  • Making copies of paperwork relating to your separate assets and marital assets
  • Coming to terms with what you want from the divorce, including your children, assets, and spousal support
  • Seeking an order for temporary relief on important issues, such as child custody
  • Getting financial advice on your assets and trying to determine which assets are marital assets and non-marital assets
  • Creating a separate bank account and moving your personal funds into this account
  • Changing the passwords and details of accounts that your partner has access to, which will prevent them from moving funds or manipulating information

Once you have prepared yourself as much as possible, seek legal help from an experienced attorney.

Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Hiring an attorney is the most important thing to do in any divorce. Even if you want to fix your relationship and think hiring a divorce might make the situation worse, you need to prioritize your legal rights and best interests. Hiring an attorney is the best way to ensure that you do not lose out during a divorce and that you go into divorce proceedings well-prepared.

An experienced attorney can help you by fighting to protect your rights and advising you on what is in your best interests. This means teaching you about divorce laws within Florida, advising you on property division guidelines, child support and custody guidelines, and other marital issues.

Your lawyer will gather documentation and proof of wealth on your behalf, represent your case in both mediation and court if necessary, and petition to get a fair outcome. An attorney will ensure that the best interests of your children are protected and that you get what you need from a divorce.

Without an attorney, it is easy to agree to a settlement that is not favorable to you, and you may fall victim to manipulation. If your spouse hires an attorney, and you do not have one, it will be very easy for them to get everything they want from a divorce and leave you empty-handed.

Contact Our Miami Divorce Lawyers

When only one partner in a marriage wants a divorce, it can be incredibly tough. You may be unsure whether to keep fighting to make it work or to accept the situation and prepare for a divorce. Every situation is unique, and there is no way of knowing how the situation will turn out. However, if you are facing divorce, the most important thing you can do is seek legal help.

The consequences of a divorce can be severe, and you could lose assets and access to your children if you are unprepared. Preparing with a lawyer from Miami Family Law Group, PLLC is the best way to protect your best interests and ensure that you do not lose out during a divorce.

Our law firm has been helping citizens of Florida through the divorce process for over 20 years. We understand the challenges faced by those going through a divorce, particularly when you did not predict it. Our lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping clients through difficult separations and ensuring that they receive consistent support, both legally and emotionally.

We know that the decision to get a divorce is not taken lightly, and we want to help you through this process as painlessly as possible. Contact us today for an initial case review by calling 305-520-7874.

Contact Miami Family Law Group, PLLC

Our attorneys are ready to help address your legal needs. Schedule an appointment by calling 305-520-7874 or contacting us online.

Back to Top