Divorce is something that nobody wants to experience, but sometimes there are simply irreconcilable differences. If love still exists between you and your wife even after she has filed for divorce, the divorce doesn't have to be finalised. It's never too late to save your marriage if both people are willing to do what it takes to heal the love.
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Explain to your wife the reasons why you think your marriage can still be saved. You'll ideally need her cooperation to stop the divorce proceedings that she has initiated. If you are unsure, you'll want to find out the exact reasons why she filed. Coming up with a satisfactory solution for all the cited problems can usually stop the divorce proceedings in their tracks in her mind.
Take responsibility for what you did wrong. Perhaps it isn't 50-50 in terms of responsibility for your collapsed marriage. Perhaps it doesn't seem like it is your fault whatsoever. It takes two to work at a relationship, and there was something very wrong for a divorce to be filed. If you want to stop the divorce, you need to quickly take personal responsibility for your entire share of what went wrong, no matter how difficult, humbling or pride-crushing this act may be. You'll need your wife's help in stopping the divorce proceedings, and having her forgiveness and acceptance is key.
Request that your divorce case be put on hold. This is most effective if you can get your wife to make that request because she's the one who filed. If you decide to reconcile for good, you can ultimately request that the case be thrown out altogether. If the reconciliation is short-lived, all the effort and money already placed into filing will not go to waste. This may seem like an unromantic notion, but it's sensible if the relationship is still on shaky ground.
Call the court and ask for a postponement. Although not the same thing as putting the divorce on hold, you'll get more time to try to work on convincing your wife to reconcile. If she is already willing to stop the divorce, this step should be avoided. You'll be given a new hearing date upon postponement, so you want to make sure that a new date is something that you want.
Go to the divorce hearing if there is no way that you can stop the proceedings beforehand. The judge cannot order you to work things out or go to therapy, so this may seem like a moot point, but a judge can ask that both of you seek mediation. Ask for it. State that you don't want the divorce and would first like to try mediation. Although this can be irksome if your wife truly feels that the relationship is over, she will likely be somewhat flattered and happy that you are fighting for the marriage. That can give you the chance to truly express your feelings. There was something very special to cause you both to make a lifelong commitment. Remembering what brought you to that prior point can be an eye-opener.
If your wife isn't listening to your pleas about stopping the divorce--and you've tried Steps 1 to 5--get a lawyer. Ask your lawyer to request couple's counselling. To get her to agree to this, your lawyer may make a promise (that he must then keep) of allowing the divorce to go smoothly if she will only first agree to a certain set amount of counselling before giving up on the marriage. Even if she does so just to get the divorce over with as painlessly as possible, she may change her mind in your sessions if you're open, honest, loving and willing to take responsibility for your choices--and if you're willing to change what has been hurting the relationship previously.
Ask for a grounds trial and flat out protest the divorce. In more legal terms, this is called contesting. Keep in mind that divorces are usually granted if they are filed and pursued--even if one contests it.
Tips and warnings
- If your wife says she no longer loves you and does not want to stop the divorce, you may have to accept this fact. In almost every state, you cannot stop a divorce if the wife has already filed and does not wish to stop it.
- The information contained in this article is not meant as a substitution for legal counsel. See an experienced lawyer if you aim to stop a divorce that's been filed.