How to File a Motion for Divorce if a Spouse Is Stalling

By Robin Elizabeth Margolis

If you want a divorce, but your spouse is stalling, you can still get a divorce. All 50 states now offer a no-fault divorce option that allows one spouse to file for divorce on the grounds that the marriage partners have irreconcilable differences, even if the other spouse is opposed to the divorce. The paperwork that begins this process is typically called a "petition" or "complaint" for divorce -- not a motion.

Step 1

Explain to your spouse that state laws permit you to divorce, even if one spouse is unwilling. Because the no-fault divorce laws were gradually adopted on a state-by-state basis between 1969 and 2011, some people mistakenly believe that the only legal divorce options are "at fault" divorce, allowing divorce on very limited grounds such as adultery or impotence; thereby, giving uncooperative spouses a way to stall a divorce.

Step 2

Review the divorce laws for your state to see what requirements you may need to fulfill to file for divorce, such as living apart from your spouse for a specific period of time.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Obtain the initial paperwork you need in your jurisdiction, either from your local courthouse or from a third-party legal document service. The court clerk can tell you what paperwork is necessary. Typically, you will obtain a petition for divorce and a summons form.

Step 4

Fill out the petition for divorce according to the instructions. Depending on where you live, your state may provide online examples of a petition for divorce.

Step 5

Fill out the summons form. A summons is a notice to your spouse asking your spouse to answer the petition for divorce by filing an answer in the court where you filed the divorce petition. Whether or not he chooses to answer the summons, however, you can still obtain a divorce.

Step 6

File your completed petition for divorce with your local court -- along with any other paperwork that your local jurisdiction and circumstances require -- and pay any necessary fees.

Step 7

Send the summons, along with a copy of your petition for divorce, to your spouse. Depending on the laws in your state, you can deliver the summons and petition in person, by certified or first-class mail, or by hiring a sheriff or a process server to deliver the papers for you.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get Free Divorce Papers



Related articles

Is the Absence of Sexual Relations Grounds for Divorce?

Sexual behavior outside the marriage and the lack of sexual relations within the marriage can serve as grounds for divorce in states that continue to allow "fault" divorces. But all fifty states now authorize no-fault divorces, allowing either spouse to dissolve a marriage citing irreconcilable differences. However, you still have the option of filing for divorce on "fault" grounds in many states.

How to Divorce When the Wife Is Not Willing

Divorce can often become more stressful if you would like to end your marriage but your spouse does not. However, you can still obtain a divorce even if your wife does not want one. Although many divorce procedures remain the same regardless of whether your wife cooperates, you can try to increase the likelihood of your wife's participation. In addition, before filing for divorce, you should research the divorce procedures, including default options, followed by your own state. A default case would allow you to obtain a divorce on your own terms if your wife fails to respond to your divorce filing in a timely manner.

How to Serve Divorce Papers

In a divorce filing, papers filed with the court must be properly served on the other spouse. Examples of these papers include the Summons and Complaint and Notice of Appearance -- the typical documents filed in the beginning of a divorce action. While some specific rules for service may differ from state to state, you will typically have to select from one of several acceptable ways to serve divorce papers on your spouse.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Happens If a Person Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers?

When marriages fall apart, both parties often want the divorce process to progress as quickly as possible. However, ...

How to File for Divorce of a Covenant Marriage in Louisiana

In Louisiana, a "covenant marriage" is an alternative to an ordinary marriage. A covenant marriage is one in which the ...

How to Divorce an Unwilling Spouse

If you want to get a divorce but your spouse does not, you may be able to dissolve the marriage anyway. A contested ...

How to File for Divorce Online With a State Fee Waiver in California

Divorce can be stressful and expensive. Fortunately, you may be eligible for a fee waiver for filing fees and other ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED