How can I get my (future-ex) wife to finalize our separation agreement?
October 25, 2008 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Hopefully-not-too-ugly Divorcefilter: How can I get my (future-ex) wife to finalize our separation agreement?

My wife and I decided this past summer to divorce. We lived (and she still lives) in New Jersey. At the time, relations between us, while understandably strained, were civil. For several reasons, one of which being financial, we decided to use a divorce mediator instead of duking it out via lawyers. During the mediation sessions, we agreed upon a very equitable and even split of our assets and debts, and the mediator went away to draft the agreement.

Several weeks passed, and relations between she and I deteriorated, largely (from my perspective, anyway) due to her new relationship with another guy who was a mutual friend. We had been splitting time at the house where we had lived together during our marriage (6.5 years), but I decided I couldn't do that anymore, and found an apartment.

About a week ago, we finally got the draft of the separation agreement. I made some corrections and sent it to her for her to do the same, but she doesn't seem to want to deal with it. I've pestered her about it a little, but she ignores my messages completely. She needs to review it and make corrections, we submit it back the the mediator for those changes to be made, then we each have laywers look it over and then it's filed in court as the terms of the divorce. But nothing goes forward while she's sitting on it.

I want to get the divorce over with. It will be easier financially when we're not entangled with our bank accounts and so on, and I just want it past me, as well. I've considered just suing her for divorce, but I don't really want to spend all the money and be that much more acrimonious about it. That's why we chose mediation in the first place.

Is there anything I can do to get her to pay attention to the agreement?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you tell the mediator that you're anxious to move the process forward and then ask her/him to contact your wife to inquire about the status of the agreement? Perhaps a nudge from an outside party would be more effective than continued prodding from you.
posted by decathecting at 11:09 AM on October 25, 2008

if you both have lawyers, have your lawyer contact her lawyer and see if that can prod things along.
posted by nadawi at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2008

Can you just make an appointment with the mediator to finalize, or with the lawyers to finalize? that might prompt her to get out of her reverie and deal with it.

A couple of things are probably happening:
1) The asshole has convinced her to "go for it" and she's wavering on whether to just finish the process and get on with her life, or to listen to him
2) she's realizing that signing the papers means the end of her life with you, and even if she wants a divorce, she's still going to be human and have qualms.

I would say just make the appointment for whatever the next step is with whomever you need to make that appointment with and have your next message be informing her of such. then she'll have to respond.
posted by micawber at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2008

When my husband and I were divorcing, I had a lot of people in the peanut gallery giving me all sorts of advice about how much I should be getting and what I should be doing. It put a lot of pressure on me, because my ex and I also were trying to do a cheap, equitable divorce. It may be that she feels overwhelmed right now (even when it's over, it's still an emotional time). I agree that you should have the mediator contact her and get a timeline about when she's going to get the corrections back. She obviously doesn't want to deal with you or the divorce right now, and your continual contact with her is going to make it worse, not better. Get a neutral party involved and step back if you want things to get done.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:45 AM on October 25, 2008

It's been about a week since you got the draft? And you've left more than one message asking her to hurry along her review?

Your most effective course of action might be to ease up a little bit - let her have a chance (at least a week or two) to read it, digest it, review it, whatever. If you see a pattern of her not responding, then ask the mediator to talk to her about it.
posted by KAS at 1:44 PM on October 25, 2008

Seconding the "ease up a bit" based on the timeline given. My experience when I got divorced was that my ex calling me made me want to shut down and not do what he was asking for, and I really didn't want to take him to the cleaners. All I wanted was to be divorced!

I understand you're anxious and want to get it over with, but she does need time to process even if her intentions are the very best. You might want to talk to the mediator about how long this part of the process usually takes, and use that to set a deadline for yourself and/or her, and let it go until then. Let the mediator do any contact that's needed--that also keeps it civil for you and her.

Best of luck in this difficult time.
posted by immlass at 2:12 PM on October 25, 2008

I know people who waited six or eight months for their partner to finalize. You're anxious, and that's understandable, but ease off on the pressure.

Wait another week or two, then call the mediator with a friendly "Hey what's up?"
posted by rokusan at 4:57 AM on October 26, 2008

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