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I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn't: What can I do?

Recently I have had more than one client hire me who wanted a divorce but their husband did not. The conversations kind of went a little like this this: “Hi, Bryan. I want a divorce but my husband refuses to give me a divorce. I have been unhappy for years. I’ve tried to talking but my husband shuts down.

I scheduled marriage counseling after my husband agreed, but he never went. My husband told me he did not need counselling. I was the problem and should go by myself. I then said I wanted a divorce. My husband then got upset and told me I could not have a divorce. He told me if I tried he would ruin me. I am so scared. Now he acts like nothing has happened.

My husband has not worked in years and refuses to help in anyway. All he does is sit at home and drink. I asked if he could at least tidy up the house. He then got angry and through a bottle at me. I can’t take it anymore. I filled out some divorce paperwork but he refuses to sign. My friend says I can still get a divorce, what can I do?

My heart went out to these women. If the above scenarios were not bad enough they usually had other problems on top such as loss of family members or health problems. Then their husbands decided to make things even more difficult by refusing to participate in the divorce. This meant they were forced to do all the work yet again to get a divorce. These women often felt guilt for seeking a divorce and wondering how their husbands would make it without them.

Divorcing an Unwilling Husband

We deal with all kinds of couples going though divorce and there is a difference between divorcing someone who does not want a divorce, but will participate in the process, and divorcing someone who refuses to participate in the divorce and does whatever they can to make things more difficult such as avoid process. One is sort of sad. The other is frustrating and dumb.

There are two ways to divorce in Texas:

  1. By Agreement or
  2. By Trial

If your husband will not participate in the Texas divorce process, then you have no choice but to go to Trial. You cannot reach an agreement someone with someone who will not negotiate. You cannot make amediated settlement agreement with someone who will not mediate or sign the agreement.

Some of my clients think that their husband’s ignoring the divorce process or refusal to participate means they get whatever they want and should be make their case quicker, easier, and cheaper that is not necessarily the case.

The truth of the matter is that a Judge is required under the Texas Family Code with making a “Just and Right Division.” This means that even though your husband does not participate in the process we must show the court that the division of the property is just and right. His absence from the process does mean we make sure you get the things you want if we can show the division is equitable. If you want to give yourself everything and him nothing that probably will not fly.

Your husband difficult behavior means you are going to need a Texas divorce lawyer. Your divorce lawyer will:

  1. Have your husband served with an Original Petition for Divorce
  2. If he refuses to file an answer or participate afterwards your divorce lawyer will help you proceed with default divorce

A default divorce involves:

  1. a mini trial just without your husband and
  2. some additional paperwork
  3. possible additional time and money

Ultimately it means a judge will grant you a divorce.

Problems with Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse

In Texas, a divorce is really 3 lawsuits at the same time. Many people assume it is a simple matter of changing your marital status from married to single. A Texas divorce is really about:

  1. Divorce – changing you from married to single
  2. Property and Debts – Who gets what no matter whose name it is in
  3. Children

Every Texas divorce requires a decision regarding what is going to happen with the property. This means the court and your attorney needs to know about your marital finances. This means If you do not know all of that information by yourself and your husband will not help it may take longer for you to get a divorce.

We always try and help you save money by requesting the information your husband should have from him. However, if he ignores your requests we can ask the judge to hold him in contempt but that does not always which may mean he is thrown into jail until he is willing to comply. This a step many of my clients are reluctant to take because of guilt which means getting the records in alternative ways.

We will have collect the information possibly by subpoena of:

  1. financial institutions
  2. directly from banks
  3. credit card companies

This takes time and costs money.

Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse and the Days Ahead

It is not uncommon for the clients I represent to have feelings of guilt. This is completely natural part of divorce process. Many times, your Ex will play on your emotions and add to your guilt. However, their bad behavior that led to the divorce in the first place will continue or increase.

From my experience, you are not the only reason the marriage did not work out. It takes two people to make a relationship work. One person can carry the load for part of time when the other person is down. However, that gets heavy if you are the only one putting in the effort.

When you want a divorce but your spouse does not, you must prepare yourself. Assume that you will not have any help from your Ex. You are going to have to figure out your divorce by yourself.

A good place to start is:

  1. by hiring a Texas divorce lawyer
  2. gathering relevant financial documents
  3. Planning what is going to happen with the children
  4. figuring out how you are going to pay for the divorce


Adobe Stock 62844981[2]If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: 16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce

Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Texas Divorce
  2. I don't want to Stay Married but I am Afraid to get Divorced in Texas
  3. 7 Steps - When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce In Texas - But You don't!!!
  4. 6 Tips - On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
  5. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  6. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  7. 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
  8. 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
  9. Does it Matter who Files First in a Texas Divorce?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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