You feel like your relationship with your spouse has deteriorated to the point that it can no longer be saved. You’d like to end the marriage and move on with your life. You float the idea of getting a divorce to your spouse.
You’re a bit surprised, because you don’t feel like your spouse was all that happy in the marriage either, but they tell you that they don’t want to get divorced. Maybe they’re against it on principle or maybe they just don’t want to talk about something so complicated. They tell you that they’re not going to agree to a divorce and that’s the end of it.
If they deny it, does that mean they can stop you from getting a divorce? Do you need both people to agree, the same way you need each party to agree to get married?
Irreconcilable differences and a default divorce
The good news is that you can certainly still get a divorce. Part of the reason for this is that you can use no-fault divorce laws so that irreconcilable differences are all that is needed to dissolve the union. You do not need to find fault with your spouse or prove that the divorce is warranted. You just have to show that the two of you are unhappy and you’d like to end it. Anyone can do this, so divorce isn’t denied by the court, even if one spouse is against it.
If your spouse still will not cooperate, the court does have the option to use a default divorce. This means that the divorce is granted in your favor and your marriage is over. Your spouse can’t make it take longer to get divorced because they will miss important deadlines, but they can’t prevent it.
Is this actually better for you?
This is obviously worse for you in many ways, because it can stretch the divorce out and make it much more contentious. But there are some ways in which this may be better for you than if your spouse agreed.
Specifically, going to court is supposed to be the part of the divorce process where you both make arguments for the assets that you want or the custody arrangement that you believe should be put in place. If your spouse refuses to show up in court, you get a lot more freedom to make these choices the way you’d like to.
If you do get involved in a complicated divorce, take the time to look into all of your legal options.