What If Only One Person Wants a Divorce?

By Beverly Bird

Because all 50 states recognize no-fault divorce, it's pretty much impossible for a spouse who does not want a divorce to prevent one from happening. You can slow the process down by contesting it, but it will eventually go through anyway.

Contesting Grounds

If your spouse files for divorce on fault grounds, and you contest them, she must establish to the satisfaction of the court that you did what she's accusing you of doing, such as adultery or cruelty. If she can't prove this to the court, the judge will deny the divorce, but she can then refile on no-fault grounds if she's determined to end your marriage. In states that require separation for a no-fault divorce, your spouse can simply leave the marital home and wait out the separation period. If your state provides for no-fault divorces on grounds such as irreconcilable differences, you can deny that your marriage has problems, but the court will most likely simply order you to attend counseling. If counseling doesn't save the marriage, the court will grant the divorce anyway.

Divorce by Default

If you refuse to participate in the divorce process, it will occur anyway, and possibly much more quickly than if you were involved. If you do nothing when you receive your spouse's petition, she can ask the court to grant the divorce by default after a statutory period of time, usually around 30 days. It's then likely that the court will award her whatever relief she asked for in her petition.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What if My Wife in New York State Refuses to Divorce Me?
 

References

Related articles

The Response to a Petition for Dissolution

Getting served with a petition for dissolution or divorce is unnerving at best, even if you're expecting it. You may have less than a month to react and file a response with the court – usually about 20 days. If you do nothing, your spouse will probably be able to end your marriage by default. This means she'll get much – if not all – of what she asked the court for in her petition.

Can You Back Out of Divorce If You Already Filed?

A divorce, like a marriage, can seem like a good idea one minute but a bad idea the next. If you filed a divorce petition and now regret it, you may be able to do an about-face without too much trouble, depending upon what stage in the proceedings you realize your mistake.

How to File for a Divorce Even When the Other Spouse Does Not Want to Sign the Papers

Only under one circumstance would you need your spouse to sign papers so you can get your divorce. You need her signature if you’re in agreement regarding the divorce and want to file a joint petition to hasten the process along. If that’s not the case, you can file a petition on your own; this would not require her signature. When you do this, your spouse has no way of stopping you or blocking your divorce from finalization.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Can the Respondent Finalize a Divorce if the Petitioner Won't Sign?

Sometimes a spouse files for divorce only to find out that the process is not going exactly the way she anticipated. ...

How to Get a Divorce When One Spouse Won't Agree

No one can stop you from getting a divorce if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t ...

How to Stop a Divorce From Happening

Stopping a divorce isn't so much a legal question as it is one of saving your marriage. Legally, if your spouse is ...

Can One Mate Refuse a Divorce in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, a spouse who doesn’t want a divorce can make the process take longer and cost more, but he cannot ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED