So You Want A Divorce, But Your Spouse Doesn't

Ending a bad marriage is a decision that people typically don't take lightly. While one spouse may be ready to dissolve the marriage union and move forward with his or her life, the other spouse may want to remain in the marriage.

While a reluctant spouse can't stop you from getting a divorce, he or she can make the process much more complicated. Knowing what to do when you want a divorce but your spouse does not will help you be prepared for the potential challenges you may face when trying to complete your divorce.

File a no-fault divorce.

When filing a divorce petition with the court, you must provide a reason that you want to end your marriage. Opting to file a no-fault divorce can be beneficial if your spouse is reluctant to proceed with the dissolution of your marriage.

A no-fault divorce will not provide your spouse with an opportunity to contest any wrongdoing that may have led to marital complications. Eliminating this arguing point will help your divorce move forward a little faster.

Serve your spouse properly.

Once you have worked with a divorce attorney to file a no-fault divorce petition, you must serve your spouse with the petition. His or her due process rights need to be protected as well, and proper service ensures your spouse will have the time needed to file a response to your petition with the court.

It's important to check with your attorney to determine the best way to serve your spouse. Some states require that divorce petitions be served in person, while others allow the petition to be served via certified mail.

If you do not follow the legal due service of process procedures in your state, your spouse can argue to have your divorce petition thrown out and you will have to start the process over again.

Ask for a default judgement.

Your spouse has the legal right to present his or her case in court when served with divorce papers. Some spouses think that ignoring divorce papers or failing to respond to the divorce petition within the legally allotted time frame will derail divorce proceedings. To prevent these delays from affecting your ability to obtain a divorce, ask the judge for a default judgement.

If you have met the legal requirements for filing and serving your divorce petition and you are able to prove that your reason for wanting a divorce is valid, a judge can grant your request for a divorce without your spouse's involvement. The divorce is considered finalized when the judge issues a default judgement in your favor.