Some divorces are mutual and both parties agree to move on, making the process swift and easy. Other cases, however, may include a spouse who does not want to dissolve the marriage and refuses to sign the paperwork.
If you find yourself in the latter situation, you may have questions regarding the effect your spouse’s actions will have on the outcome of your divorce case.
Divorce does not require your spouse’s approval
According to the California Courts website, your spouse’s desire to remain married will not prevent the courts from finalizing your divorce. If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, however, it will take at least six months for your marriage to legally end, beginning when you file the papers and your spouse receives their copy.
If your spouse does not respond to your request for a divorce, the courts will finalize the case as an uncontested divorce. In other words, your spouse forfeits any say in the terms of the divorce.
It is in the best interest of your spouse to respond
Most people will want some say regarding the terms of their divorce. Because a lack of response ends in an uncontested divorce, it is in the best interest of your spouse to respond in some way. In general, there are two ways your spouse may respond to your petition for divorce:
- He or she files a response and agrees to your terms for the divorce
- He or she files a response and contests your terms for the divorce
If your spouse contests, you may try to come to an agreement together, or employ mediators to help. A judge will have the final say on any issues that you cannot come to an agreement on.
Although it is easier when your spouse cooperates, it is not necessary for your divorce to go through.