Difficult Divorces: How to Deal With an Uncooperative Spouse


For some divorcing couples, one spouse wants a clean divorce while the other wants to make everything as difficult as possible. Usually, the latter does this by barely or not cooperating at all, among other tactics, to turn everything into a battle.

If you are dealing with a belligerent or uncooperative spouse, here are some tips to minimize stress and delays:

1. Choose a good process server

Some spouses will do everything to avoid getting served. And consequently, this can lead to delays that will only drag on the stress, anxiety, and other problems that occur during a divorce. If you want to hasten the process despite an uncooperative spouse, choose an experienced process server who is able to serve papers quickly and efficiently (no matter how hard your spouse tries to evade it).

2. Keep a level head

Maintaining composure during a rough divorce is easier said than done, but not making an effort to do so can make the situation even more complicated. Whenever your spouse tries to start an argument, keep calm and don’t engage. If they use dirty tactics like pitting the children against you or saying untruthful claims to the lawyer, do not retaliate. An angry and bitter spouse will want to get a rise out of you, but it’s important to keep a level head and be the more logical person.

3. Document everything

If they are bitter and angry enough, an uncooperative spouse may even try to lie during the divorce proceedings. Twisting the truth is a dirty tactic that disgruntled spouses often use to “get back” at their future ex and make the process as difficult as possible.

To avoid the complications of having a lying spouse during the divorce, document everything in writing, including correspondences, funds taken out of your bank accounts, important dates pertinent to the divorce, and details about parenting, among many others. Having detailed documentation about these things will help you dispute any unfactual claims made against you by your spouse, which can help make the divorce proceedings go more smoothly.

Divorce papers4. Go to therapy

Going through a divorce akin to a fight to the death is difficult enough, especially with an uncooperative spouse. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with the hardships by yourself. Aside from reaching out to your friends and family for support, it’s recommended to ask for professional help. A divorce therapist will be able to help you cope with the emotional and mental turmoils of a divorce.

5. Talk to your lawyer

When your spouse is doing their best to not cooperate, consult with your lawyer about the best course of action. Their advice will make it easier for you to deal with your spouse and the divorce proceedings at the same time. And ultimately, having a reliable counsel by your side can put your mind at ease.

Leaving a marriage is difficult enough; you don’t need an angry and uncooperative spouse to make things more problematic. But if your spouse does happen to be one of the uncooperative ones, these tips can help you make the proceedings go as smoothly as possible, or at least as civil as it can be, given the circumstances.