It can take a great deal of thought, pain and frustration to come to the conclusion that you want a divorce. Once you have, it almost comes as a surprise, sometimes, when your spouse isn’t immediately on the same page. People come to their own conclusions at different times and for different reasons.
Sometimes, one spouse wants a divorce and the other does not. If you’ve tried working things out to no avail, you may wonder if you need your spouse’s permission to move forward.
Legally, you don’t. There are three requirements for divorce in North Carolina:
- One spouse must decide the marriage is irretrievably broken
- At least one spouse must have lived in North Carolina for six months
- You have to live separately for a year and a day with at least one spouse intending it to be permanent
If you have those three requirements in place, you can file for divorce. Your spouse may grumble, put up roadblocks and refuse to cooperate but, ultimately, they cannot stop the divorce from happening.
You can do it, but should you?
It may be necessary, in some cases, to move forward with a divorce when one spouse opposes it. However, there may be good reasons to continue trying to persuade your spouse instead of moving forward without them.
For one thing, if you have children together you will not be able to fully exorcize your spouse from your life. Instead, you will have to learn how to co-parent together. You will see each other at parent-teacher conferences and school affairs. You may have to share birthday parties and holidays. Big games, prom, graduation, weddings – your spouse will still be there, even after you divorce.
If your spouse opposes the divorce, it could be out of shame or fear for the future. Try to give a little leeway for them to come around to the idea that a divorce is going to happen.
Sometimes, divorcing spouses do everything they can think of to thwart the divorce and obstruct the legal process. This can be infuriating but try to remain patient. If they truly obstruct or refuse to cooperate with the divorce process, talk to your divorce attorney. The court may need to step in.
Being compassionate towards your spouse even as you make your way toward a new life can sometimes make the divorce go more smoothly. At the very least, it makes it easier to have a workable ongoing relationship after the divorce.
A compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile for you can help.