Can a divorce be denied if one wants to go to counseling and the other doesn’t?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a divorce be denied if one wants to go to counseling and the other doesn’t?

My wife wants a divorce but I do not. Can it be denied if I want to go to
counseling and she doesn’t?

Asked on April 27, 2017 under Family Law, Montana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since all 50 states recognize "no-fault" divorce, it's just about impossible for a spouse who does not want a divorce to prevent one from happening. You can slow the process down by contesting it, however it will eventually go through. If your husband files for divorce on "fault" grounds and you contest, then he must establish to the court that you did what he is accusing you of doing (i.e. adultery, cruelty, etc.). If he can't prove this, then the judge will deny the divorce but your husband can then refile on no-fault grounds. In states that require separation for a no-fault divorce, your spouse can simply leave the marital home and wait out the separation period. If your state provides for no-fault divorces on grounds such as irreconcilable differences, you could try to deny that your marriage has problems, however the court will simply order you to attend counseling. If counseling doesn't save the marriage, the court will then grant the divorce anyway. Even of you refuse to participate in the divorce at all, your husband can still apply for and be granted what is called a "divorce by default".

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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