What If My Spouse Doesn't Want a Divorce? / by Cassandra Hearn

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Studies have repeatedly shown that divorce is one of the most stressful events that a person can go through. Divorce means having to divide your assets, your debts, and in some cases, your time with your children. Divorce also can be an expensive or lengthy process, further explaining why it can be so stressful. In the most optimal cases, you and your spouse can work together to try to come up with a settlement that will resolve your divorce issues. It is very common for people to work together to come up with solutions on how to divide the marital residence, retirement accounts, credit card debt, and create a parenting plan for the children. Unfortunately, in some cases, a spouse may say that he or she does not want the divorce and will refuse to cooperate. It is common for spouses to say they will “refuse to sign the papers,” thinking that this will put a stop to the whole process. However, this is not true.

Some difficult spouses think will they can stop the divorce by ignoring the case completely, but this is not an effective way to avoid the divorce. Every divorce case starts the same way, meaning that one spouse has to file a petition for divorce in the appropriate county and have the other spouse properly served with the papers. After that has happened, the Respondent spouse has thirty days to file his or her response to the divorce request. If you have properly served your spouse with a divorce petition and he or she does not respond, you can request a default order. This means that you will be awarded what you requested by default because your spouse did not respond in time. 

Some spouses will respond to the papers, but then will throw up roadblocks at every turn, refusing to cooperate with discovery requests, refusing to move out of the marital residence, or being difficult at custody exchanges. All of these strategies will ultimately backfire, as the spouse seeking the divorce can file requests with the court to move the case along and seek to have the stubborn spouse penalized for intentionally slowing down the process.

Finally, in some cases, the spouse who does not want the divorce may show up at the divorce hearing and tell the judge that he or she has done nothing wrong and does not want to be divorced, thinking that without grounds for divorce, the requesting spouse cannot seek to have the marriage ended. This is also untrue, as California is a “no fault state.”  This means that either spouse can seek to be awarded a divorce without having to prove that the other spouse is at fault for the break-up of the marriage.

If your spouse is trying to slow down your divorce, call us today at 619-800-0384. We can talk about your case and what we can do to help you move forward