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The feeling isn’t mutual: One-sided divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2024 | Divorce, Domestic Violence, Emergency Relief

Have you gotten to the place where you know that divorcing your spouse is the right thing? But does your spouse disagree? This may put you in a difficult position but know that in Florida you do not need your spouse’s consent to get divorced.

No-fault divorce

Since 1971, Florida has been a no-fault divorce state. This means that to end a marriage, the court does not need to identify whose fault it was that the marriage failed. To obtain a divorce a spouse only needs to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, which is the basis for most divorces today. Another, less frequent reason can be that one party is mentally incapacitated.

And if you have decided your marital partnership is irretrievably broken, your assertion that the marriage is permanently broken down normally will be the basis for the court to grant the divorce. If one spouse decides its over, even if the other does not, its hard to argue things are not broken in a two-person arrangement.

Tips for smoother sailing

One family psychologist writes that “[e]ven if a spouse doesn’t want the divorce, most come to accept that the divorce is inevitable if one spouse is determined to divorce.” Hopefully, yours will get there, but it may be challenging along the way. The nature of the person and relationship impacts the bumps in the road.

It is smart for you to lean on friends, relatives and spiritual advisors during this time. You may seek professional counseling to understand ways to move forward with a spouse reluctant to end things, including advice about how to break the news. You can also suggest that they see a mental-health professional for support and coping techniques.

It is difficult to know whether to be open and friendly, or to keep a distance. And all of this becomes more intense when there are minor children involved. But it is important that your final decision to end things remains clear and unwavering if that is your true feeling, so as not to give false hope of reconciliation.

The above-referenced article notes that sometimes a resistant spouse tries to obstruct the divorce process. For example, they may seek to delay and can become enraged when things do not go their way. In extreme cases, they may even threaten suicide. Therapy for both of you is so important in this event both for your spouse’s immediate crisis and for the extreme stress this would cause you.

Stay safe

If safety is an issue for your or your children, seek immediate legal advice and contact authorities if needed. For example, your resistant spouse may have a history of domestic abuse, addiction or mental health problems not successfully treated. An attorney can help with seeking legal protections like an injunction, restraining order or order for protection.


The LAW OFFICES OF FORREST & Forrest, PLLC represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale in high-asset divorce matters. Daniel Forrest is board-certified family lawyer and mediator serving the South Florida area.

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