Can You Stop Your Divorce?

During the initial grieving process and typically while you are still in shock, your first instinct may be to try to stop your divorce. Typically, only one spouse pushes for divorce while the other either attempts to stop it, delay it or gives in. I am not a psychologist. However, having majored in Psychology while attending Virginia Tech as an undergrad, I am familiar with many of the emotional processes that can occur during life-changing events, including divorce.

It may not seem like it now, but you will be okay. Even if you are the one who initiates divorce, you are most likely experiencing some type of sadness and grief. If you have young children, divorce is even more difficult. Thinking of custody arrangements, not seeing your child on a daily basis and moving households are very difficult things to consider — especially when it happens at once. However, you will get through this. Most likely, you will not only make it through, but you will grow emotionally from having weathered such a difficult period.

Many books, websites and “counselors” claim they can stop your divorce. Save your money. Legally, although you can delay your divorce, you cannot stop it. It will occur at some point. You can make it harder for your spouse to obtain a final divorce decree, but with “no-fault” divorce laws, it only takes one spouse to push for it. Ultimately, with or without you, your spouse will obtain a final divorce. Your spouse can obtain a “no fault” divorce after meeting the minimum separation period. If you have no minor children and have entered into a separation or property settlement agreement, you can file a complaint for a divorce after six months. If you have children, you must live apart for at least one year. Only one of you has to form the intent to live separate and apart at the beginning of your separation period.

I recommend that you read the Separation and Divorce Information handbook published by the Fairfax County Commission for Women. If you need legal help navigating the divorce process, you can contact me today.

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