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Husband threatening to refuse to sign papers


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To date I've mostly been posting over in the healing from a break-up forum, but since this is specifically a divorce question/problem I'm posting here. The abbreviated version of my story: met my husband in Central America last year (I'm from the States living here doing my PhD research), he came to work for me for several months, we got married last December so he could come with me for a while when I return to the States (tourist or work visas are nearly impossible to get for someone of his nationality. Neither he nor I want to stay in the States long-term - our plan was to return to settle in his home country - so he was not just using me to get a green card. I wanted the marriage as much as he did, because all 5 of my previous LTRs ended after long-distance).


During our courtship time, everything was wonderful. We were madly in love, and he was hard-working, responsible, devoted to me. Here in Central America there's a strong "Machismo" culture, with the men typically being womanizers, heavy drinkers, gamblers, liars, lazy, and generally disrespectful of women. He was not a machista at all when I met him - didn't drink at all, always respectful to me and others, didn't even look at - let alone flirt with or pick up - other women. Then he went back to his hometown (I'd met him elsewhere) around the time of our wedding and became a totally different person - a typical machista, just like most of his old friends (whom he'd been apart from for >10 years). I stuck with him for a while, thinking once I got him away from his obnoxious friends and back to where we were supposed to be living and working, everything would be okay again. Then he started lying to me about things, and in the end sold a computer I'd loaned him to get involved in some shady business deal, and lied to me about that for weeks.


So by the end of February we're over.  Until this point, he’d led me  to believe our paperwork was never turned in, so we were not officially married.  We continue talking for a couple weeks then mutually agree to go NC.  A month later, I’m getting a strong intuition that he’s lying again, so I call him - sure enough, the paperwork was turned in before we split up and we’re officially married.  When I asked him when the heck he was going to tell me,  he said he didn’t because I never called (note that he never called either).


Then, two days later when I’m making arrangements to come up to his town (a day’s travel from where I live) to do the paperwork, and I tell him I’ve found a lawyer for  us (he didn’t want to use the lawyer who married us - or anyone else in his town - because he’s been lying to everyone and telling them we’re still together, because he doesn’t want to admit hemessed up).  So he suddenly starts pulling some serious attitude and telling me that he’s going to refuse to sign the papers.  This will do him absolutely no good. We have nothing to fight over (no bank accounts, property, or children). But it will cost me extra time, money, and hassle - after everything he's already put me through!


So, at long last, here's my question. Does anyone have experience convincing a spouse to cooperate with a divorce? Any suggestions on how to play this? I’m meeting with him tomorrow.  Thanks!

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When trying to influence someone to do something you want, it's the carrot or the stick.


He needs to feel there is something in it for him (the carrot to entice him) or else feel like it will be more painful if he doesn't sign than if he signs (the stick).


Unless you are willing to pay a lawyer to go after him with the stick, it is best to try to use the carrot. Try to convince him that it is better for him to sign now and tie this all up so that he is free to pursue other women or whatever he pleases. You can try a positive approach of 'let's just take care of this, then i'll leave town and you can tell anyone anything you want as to why we divorced and i won't contradict you.' (so he can save face).


Or you could try the stick, as in, if you don't sign, then i'm hiring a lawyer and you will be liable for the court costs since you lied and stole from me. The judge will make you pay me for lost damages, AND you'll have to pay for my lawyer and yours.


But it is best to try the carrot first. Think about what he really wants and try to give it to him... look at the roadblocks to why he wouldn't sign (saving face?) and try to mitigate them.

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Thanks everyone! I just got back from my trip up to his hometown and we've started the proceedings, and I managed (trying first the stick then the carrot) to get him to cooperate.


The last commentator was right - he did have something up his sleeve. Namely that the papers never were filed with the local equivalent of city hall, and he held the original in his possession. But this didn't mean that we weren't married and so could just make it all disappear, because everything was entered in the lawyer's book, which makes it binding. Mind you this is all occurring in Nicaragua, where I am not familiar w/ the laws - but I'm learning quickly. I had found out ahead of time that I could proceed with the divorce without his signature or cooperation and had found a lawyer, but if my lawyer couldn't get a copy of the marriage certificate (which my ex had the only copy of) he couldn't do anything.


But through every measure at my disposal (first insisting, then crying and making him feel guilty for putting me/us through this - because this marriage ending is, truly and after much reflection on what I could have done wrong, at least 95% his fault due to his lies and misbehavior) I was able to bring him around and get him to cooperate. Now I just have to make sure he stays that way for the next couple months until everything is wrapped up!

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