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What Happens When You Want Out — But Your Spouse Does Not?

Only slightly less common than marriage itself, divorce provides the means to put your life back in order and move forward — alone. But what if your spouse does not share your view?

Popping the question is much easier than ending the marriage that results. In many cases, the feeling is mutual, and both parties understand that the magic is gone and that divorce is mutually acceptable. For other couples, the desire to exit a marriage is unilateral.

I am not talking about the rupture to a marriage caused by the discovery of an affair, but of a time when you view your relationship as over and your spouse does not. Consider these steps if you find yourself concerned about how and when to approach your spouse about divorce:

  • Learn about the law: If you are considering divorce, speak to a knowledgeable divorce lawyer. Find an attorney in your area dedicated to family law. Talk about the process of divorce, what is expected and the decisions you need to make. Use the conversation to learn about your legal position from someone who regularly guides people through divorce.
  • Get up to date: Make sure you know your assets, your liabilities and a realistic household budget. Look around yourself, at the furniture, cars and possessions. Make mental or written lists about how division of assets might go. Speak with a financial advisor or your attorney about division of important investment and retirement accounts.
  • Broach the subject: When you are informed and calm, pick an appropriate time to approach your spouse and discuss the topic openly. You are not asking for divorce; you are stating your position. Remember, while you may have had six months to research the topic, your spouse may not have ever considered divorce.

Be respectful. You do not need the permission of your spouse to divorce, but mutual agreement goes a long way toward keeping your divorce civil — especially if you have children.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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