Can My Spouse Keep Me From Getting a Divorce? / by Cassandra Hearn

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Making the decision to get a divorce is one that is difficult and of paramount importance.  Deciding to get a divorce means that nothing will be quite the same for you or your soon-to-be former spouse.  In some cases, the other spouse has a difficult time accepting the inevitability of the disintegration of a relationship.  That spouse may make threats that he or she will never “give” the other party a divorce.  It is not uncommon for a spouse in such a situation to wonder whether the resisting spouse can actually prevent a divorce.

The short answer to the question is “no.”  Rest assured that if you want a divorce in the state of California, you will be able to acquire a divorce.  Moreover, California is a “no fault” divorce state, so even if you believe that you are the one responsible for the relationship falling apart, this is immaterial.  You can still obtain a divorce. 

However, there are definitely road blocks that a resisting spouse can throw up to slow the process down.  The quickest way to get a divorce is to come to an agreement with your spouse on as many issues as possible.  Having an agreement on all of the issues means that you could potentially file a settlement agreement and get your divorce quickly.  A resisting spouse will almost certainly make absurd demands or flat out refuse to settle at all.  Another potential way a resisting spouse may try to slow down the divorce is to disappear or dodge service.  Obtaining valid service is an essential component of any lawsuit, including a divorce.  However, personal services, i.e. putting the divorce papers right into the hands of the other spouse, is not always necessary.  If personal service has been attempted and failed, it may be possible for your attorney to request permission from the court to complete substitute or alternative service.  These methods of service often include publishing an ad in a local newspaper for a certain amount of time.  When done correctly, this type of service is still valid service and will permit you to proceed with your divorce.

Be aware that one situation that may mean you cannot currently proceed with your divorce is if your spouse is in the military and is currently deployed.  There are special laws in place to protect deployed military members from having lawsuits such as divorces pursued against them while they are actively serving and overseas.

Getting a divorce when your spouse is highly resistant can present special problems, and you need an attorney to help you with the process. Call us today at 619-800-0384 and let us talk with you about your divorce.