So, are you wondering how to get a divorce without your spouse's consent? I’m so glad you’re here! My goal is to explain the necessary steps to educate you on the fact that you can get a divorce without your spouse's consent in every state. This is the site I wish I had when I went through an ugly divorce 11 years ago.
Why Get A Divorce Without Your Spouse's Consent?
There are many reasons to consider it. Here are some of the more common reasons:
- You don't know where your spouse currently is living.
- You are no longer communicating to your spouse.
- You are afraid for your safety.
- You don't want to discuss the impending divorce and want it to move forward quickly.
Do you see yourself in any of those? Can you see how getting a divorce without your partner's consent would be beneficial to you? Ok. Let's get started.
The 6 Basic Steps To Divorcing Without Consent:
These are the main sections we’ll cover. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you right through.
- Finding a Family Lawyer in your state
- Filing for divorce
- Serving the divorce papers
- Wait for petition
- Division of assets
- Granting your divorce
Step 1: Find a Family Lawyer In Your State
Find a family attorney in your state (google search: family attorney in [city], look on yelp, ask a friend for a recommendation). Even though you can obtain a divorce without your spouse's consent, it is a more difficult process when children or significant assets are involved. You do not need to hire an attorney, but you should consult with one if you have questions about your rights. Attorneys can range anywhere from $100/hour to $800+/hour for very experienced attorneys in major cities.
Step 2: File For No Fault Divorce
In a "No-Fault" divorce, you are stating that neither party is responsible for the dissolution (aka the end) of the marriage. No fault divorce is available in all 50 states. If you have questions about which type of divorce to file (fault or no fault), consult a licensed attorney in your state.
Step 3: Serve Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
You must serve your (soon to be ex)spouse with the divorce papers according to the rules for service of process in your state. Typically, serving these papers by certified mail will get the job done. You can also use the sheriff's service, or a registered process server. Contrary to popular belief (and as seen in movies like Serving Sara with Matthew Perry), your spouse cannot avoid divorce simply by avoiding being served the papers.
Step 4: Wait For Petition
Your spouse will have the option to either answer the petition for divorce, or for the statutory time-period for an answer to expire. This time period (30 days or longer in some states). If you spouse does answer and says he/she doesn't want a divorce, it doesn't matter. You have the legal right to divorce. In a no fault divorce, only one party needs to believe that there are irreconcilable differences. If your spouse doesn't answer, the court can grant you a default judgement (including property and custody requests, as long as they are reasonable).
Step 5: Division of Assets
Follow the proceedings in your state for the division of assets, spousal support, and custody determination. Some states require in person settlement mediation. The procedure is different in every state and in different court rooms within a state. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the court will schedule a trial. If your spouse refuses to cooperate, judges do not generally allow one party to delay a divorce. The judge can often grant a divorce before other matters are decided and finalize the other matters at a later date according to Legalzoom
Step 6: Ask The Court To Grant Your Divorce
You need to ask the court to grant your divorce and this will happen after the required hearing (and after the required waiting period). Most courts will schedule a hearing at the appropriate time (even without a request from either party).
Getting a divorce is no small task and it will be emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining. Make sure that you are relying on friends and family to support and love you during this time in need. Don't think you can do it all alone. Best of luck!