You’ve been trying to fix your marriage for years. It’s just not working. Finally, you tell your spouse that you believe the two of you should think about getting a divorce. You think it would be better for both of you to move ahead on your own.
“No,” your spouse says simply. “We’re not getting divorced. I don’t believe in it.”
You’re stunned, and you don’t enjoy being told what you can and cannot do, but it also raises a very real question: Can your spouse deny a divorce? They had to agree to marry you. Do they also have to agree to divorce you?
Regardless of what your spouse says or believes, you need to know that you can get divorced with or without their cooperation. They cannot deny you a divorce, nor can they make it impossible by ignoring the divorce proceedings. It may take longer this way, but you do not need them to end your marriage.
First of all, this situation means you’re going to have a contested divorce, not an uncontested one, so you can file that paperwork and serve it to your spouse. They then have a set amount of time to respond. If they do, the divorce proceedings continue. If they don’t, you can ask the court for a default divorce. They can grant it even if your spouse never responds, and you’ll likely get most of the terms you requested when you filed.
If you know you want a divorce and you don’t think that it will go smoothly, you absolutely need to know what steps you can take to protect your interests and accomplish your goals. Because every situation is unique, it’s smart to start your plans with a visit to an experienced attorney.