How Can I Divorce an Unwilling Spouse


Divorce is an intricate matter that is based on the fractured relationship that exists between two spouses. For whatever reason, obtaining a divorce is usually a mutual decision. If one spouse decides to consider a divorce, it’s likely that the other spouse will follow suit if the efforts to preserve the marriage have failed. Nonetheless, if your spouse is unwilling to go through with the divorce, there is still the possibility that you can still move forward without their approval.

If your spouse’s indifference is conflicting you, read on to learn how you can secure a divorce without your spouse’s cooperation.

Step 1: Speak With an Attorney

Different states have varying laws about the procedures pertaining to divorce. Although it’s a myth that your spouse can delay or complicate a divorce if they don’t give consent, the process can still be difficult if significant assets or children are involved. You don’t have to hire an attorney for your divorce, but it would be optimal to discuss your rights and options if your spouse is unwilling to cooperate with your plea for divorce.

Step 2: File For a No Fault Divorce

In this type of divorce, you are stating that neither you or your spouse is responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. No fault divorce is generally available in every state. Generally speaking, a no-fault divorce doesn’t give your spouse the opportunity to dispute your filing. On the contrary, filing a divorce based on fault allows the disapproving spouse to challenge your grounds for divorce. If you have any questions about the best alternative for you, consult with your family law attorney in your area.

Step 3: Serve Your Spouse

According to the proper rules of service in your state, you’ll need to serve your spouse before formal divorce proceedings can begin. Typically, you can use the sheriff’s service, registered process server, or certified mail to handle this task. Regardless if your spouse tries to avoid this service, the sheriff can serve your spouse at home, work, or anywhere else. In addition, papers of service can also be left with any responsible person in your spouse’s household.

Your spouse cannot reject service. If they refuse the documents presented to them, they are considered served and the divorce proceedings will move forward. If your spouse cannot be found, they can be publically served through publication, such as a newspaper.

Step 4: Wait for an Answer

The final step is to wait for your spouse to either answer your petition for divorce or for the petition’s time limit to expire. If your spouse answers and state that they do not want a divorce, it won’t matter. Moreover, the court may order you and your spouse to attend mediation to resolve important issues such as the liquidation of community property and child custody. Once these issues are resolved, your divorce will be granted and finalized in conjunction to the terms you agreed upon in mediation. From there, there is no turning back the clock. Once your divorce is finalized, you’ll be a single individual, whether your spouse agrees or not.