My partner won’t agree to a divorce. What do I do?

It is not unusual for one partner to think that their relationship is over and the other doesn’t agree.

Actually, it is more unusual for both spouses to arrive at the decision to divorce at the same time.

We are often asked, but what can I do?

A couple do not need each other’s permission to obtain a divorce. If they really want to get divorced, then they will be able to. The new no fault divorce process, available from April 2022, will be making the whole divorce process a lot easier and more straightforward.

The question is probably more about how you can make the process easier, less stressful for everyone involved and as amicable as possible so that the costs of unnecessary litigation can be avoided.

Here are some top tips:

·               Try to find out why they do not want a divorce. It is easier to talk about if you know what the other person is thinking

·               Avoid arguing

·               Try to remain compassionate and express a sincere desire to minimise the pain your decision has caused

·               Give them time to mentally process what is happening. There is rarely any need to rush a divorce

·               Ask a relationship coach/counsellor to meet and talk with you both to help you move forward and agree on next steps. We know several professionals we can recommend to help you with this and they are very experienced at this kind of work. Most meetings can also now be held online if that is easier for you both.

·               Have you got a trusted family member or friend who you can both talk to on a neutral and impartial basis? They could help you both talk about the situation and agree a way forward

·               Suggest family mediation. This is a process where a professional mediator can help you both discuss what to do next, how to deal with the divorce, any child arrangements that need to be made and how to sort out the finances

In suggesting mediation, you can emphasise that it is a process where:

·               You can discuss how you can move forward with a no fault divorce

·               You can discuss everything at your own pace

·               You can put the children first

·               The mediator will help you both reach a fair agreement  

·               You can stay out of court

·               You will save on legal fees because the process is cost-effective

·               By discussing things together, you have got more chance of being able to communicate more effectively in the future. An important point if you have children that you both need to co-parent

A word of reassurance, even if a spouse does not want a divorce, most come to accept it is inevitable.

It is really a question of what steps you can take so that you do not end up arguing about everything and then having to instruct a lawyer which can mean that everything becomes very litigious and expensive.

Most people react better to an email from a mediator suggesting a way to reach an amicable agreement rather than a letter landing on a doormat or their inbox from a lawyer which can have the impression of being more confrontational and litigious.

If you would like to speak with us about anything you have read here you can book a free call to speak with us via our website, email us at or call us at 0800 206 2258.

You can even meet with us together by booking one of our online Family law information meetings, via the booking page of our website, where we provide you both with lots of information so that you can then make informed decisions together about what to do next.


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