What If My Spouse and I Can't Agree on Key Divorce Matters?
Dealing with a divorce is never easy, especially if you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement about key issues. Most couples argue at some point during the divorce process, and it’s extremely likely that you won’t see eye-to-eye on some issues. However, if these disagreements are making each and every stage of your divorce more difficult, you might want to consider what you can do to compromise and resolve these differences. In this post, we discuss your options for when agreements cannot be reached.
When You Disagree About Filing for Divorce
When one spouse wants to divorce and the other one doesn’t, it is often a tricky situation. However, make sure you understand you don’t have to agree on this issue – nothing can legally prevent you or your spouse from filing for divorce. Oregon is a no-fault state and you do not need to agree or show cause to file for divorce.
If your spouse doesn’t want to divorce but you do, you should consider your next move carefully. First, seek the advice of a divorce attorney. This is a good practice for anyone who is considering a divorce, even if you haven’t told your spouse about it. They can give you information about next steps and advise you on how to proceed, especially if there are children involved or if you anticipate your spouse may be contentious.
If your spouse wants to file for divorce and you don’t, consider asking your spouse to attend marriage counseling. If they are willing to try, you may be able to continue to work on your marriage. If they are unwilling, you may need to accept the fact that your spouse is likely to file for divorce and begin preparing yourself. It would be wise to also seek the advice of a divorce attorney.
When You Disagree on Key Divorce Issues
Once you have filed for divorce, each spouse and their attorney will begin the process of gathering information and negotiating the key matters at hand:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Division of your marital assets and debts
Most divorces are settled without going to trial. This is done through negotiations between each spouse and their legal counsel. However, if you and your spouse cannot negotiate an agreement on an issue, you can choose to try mediation to reach an agreement with the assistance of a neutral third party. Divorce mediation can be very effective in resolving issues (even just some of the issues), if there is willingness to compromise on both sides.
If an agreement still isn’t happening, the only options remaining are arbitration or going to trial. In both arbitration and trial, someone else makes the decision for you after hearing all the arguments and evidence. The decision to go to trial should not be made without serious consideration, as trials are often expensive and lengthy, and the results are final.
Dealing with a Highly Contentious Spouse
If your spouse is particularly contentious, aggressive, or difficult to deal with, letting your attorney handle all communication isn’t just easier, it’s better for your case. You can discuss your preferences and priorities with your attorney ahead of time, but in meetings, negotiations, or court, he or she can represent your interests and fight for your rights so that you don’t have to continue having inconclusive and inflammatory arguments with your spouse.
Arguing with your spouse is never easy, especially when it comes to issues of divorce, which can be emotionally difficult and frustrating. If you aren’t sure what to do when you and your spouse don’t see eye-to-eye, our firm is prepared to help.
Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon office to meet with our divorce lawyers.