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What to do when one spouse is resisting divorce

When a Rhode Island spouse makes the decision to end a marriage, there can be a lot of emotions involved. This emotional stress can cause tensions to escalate very quickly. This is especially true when one spouse wants a divorce but the other spouse is resisting.

If one spouse does not want to move forward with a divorce, but the other spouse does, a lot of frustration can be created. If the spouse seeking divorce acts too aggressively then the tone of the divorce may end up being very adversarial. If a spouse seeking divorce doesn't act, however, the divorce may be delayed.

A recent column by two divorce mediators emphasizes that a balance is necessary in these situations. To move forward, one family therapist suggests that the spouse who wants divorce should approach the situation with compassion. Recognizing the hurt, anger and fear in the other spouse can be helpful as both parties get used to the idea of a divorce. The mediators also suggest that open and honest communication can be helpful. By candidly talking about the situation, the spouse who wants to move forward with the divorce can avoid escalating tensions and isolating the spouse who is reluctant to divorce.

Additionally, the mediators suggest that those seeking a divorce give their spouse some time to adjust to the idea. While the person filing for divorce may have been thinking about this possibility for a long time, the other person may need time to come to terms with the situation.

When facing divorce each spouse should make sure they know their options -- especially if one spouse is resisting the proceedings. While an adversarial process may be appropriate for some couples, others might benefit from mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods. With the right help, people can successful dissolve their marriage and move forward to a new life.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Things to Do If You Want a Divorce But Your Husband Doesn't," Cheryl and Joe Dillon, Oct. 15, 2014

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