Divorce can be difficult for a couple to approach, especially when one partner does not want to end the marriage. While you may be able to reconcile your relationship, finding ways to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and stay positive will help you no matter the outcome. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you navigate this time before you move forward with marital recovery or divorce.
How to Respond
After your spouse says that they want a divorce, you should stay calm. When it is appropriate, you can ask them why they feel that way. As you discover the aspects of your relationship that need work or the ways you hurt your spouse, your attentiveness and engaged listening will show your spouse that you understand their position. You will then open the floor to let your spouse know that you want to make the marriage work without pushing them to help you repair it.
You should create a plan for yourself to rebuild that relationship so that you can move forward with confidence and patience to buy you some time. Some elements of this plan could include making time for self-care, attending counseling, listening to your spouse, researching other ways to help, and reflecting on yourself in the relationship and as an individual.
How Not to Respond
Your initial response may be to consistently pursue your spouse to discuss the relationship or to withdraw and be alone. Neither reaction is healthy for you or your spouse and could further drive them away. By maintaining a daily course of action with your purposeful plan, you can show that you are growing and learning without pressuring your partner.
Spying on their actions and conversations or manipulating your spouse by coercing them to join your efforts for repair could give them confirmation of their desire to get a divorce. Manipulation can incorporate forcing them to watch movies or read books about love and marriage or forcing them to go to counseling or therapy with or without you.
Similarly, begging them to stay in the relationship and incessantly reminiscing on the “golden days” of your marriage may further damage the relationship. You will also not be able to buy back your marriage with gifts or experiences.
Georgia code (O.C.G.A § 19-5-3) details divorce law for the state. Georgia accepts fault-based and no-fault divorce cases, meaning one person can be at blame for the divorce, or both partners can agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” You and your spouse do not have to establish wrongdoing for the dissolution of the marriage to be finalized.
The grounds to grant a total, fault-based divorce in Georgia are:
- Intermarriage within prohibited family relations
- Mental incapacity at the time of marriage
- Impotency at the time of marriage
- Use of force, threat, or fraud to obtain the marriage
- Pregnancy by a man other than the husband at the time of the marriage that the husband was not aware of
- Adultery by either spouse after the marriage
- Intentional and continued desertion by either spouse for a year
- Either spouse has been convicted for moral wickedness and is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for two or more years
- Continuous intoxication
- Cruel treatment of a spouse including intentional infliction of pain, physical or mental, that causes threat or danger to life, limb, or health
- Incurable mental illness
- Continuous drug addiction
Sometimes, when partners say that they want a divorce, they are not completely certain of the decision. While not all marriages will return to a healthy state of contentment for both partners to want to remain married, there is a chance for your relationship to be reconciled.
If, however, you and your spouse decide to proceed with the divorce through mediation or litigation, contact Andersen, Tate & Carr for help.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Trinity Hundredmark heads our Domestic Relations Division. She is an experienced attorney with more than a decade of experience representing clients. For more information, or to request a virtual case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-467-3205.