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Can your spouse stop the divorce by refusing to cooperate?

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2023 | Divorce |

You serve the divorce papers to your spouse. You know that they don’t want to get divorced, but it’s a decision that you’ve made. You expect them to sign the petition and move forward with the process, regardless of how they wish the relationship had gone.

But then your spouse refuses to acknowledge the situation. They ignore the paperwork. They tell you that they’re not going to go to any of the court hearings. They won’t sign anything. Essentially, it becomes clear that they think that, if they simply don’t cooperate, you won’t be able to get divorced. 

But is this true?

You can still get a default divorce

This isn’t true, and the reason for it is that the court can always issue a default divorce.

When you file the paperwork, your spouse will have a certain amount of time to respond to it. Court hearings will also have very specific deadlines. Your spouse can ignore these at first, but once they have exceeded those deadlines, the court has the power to move forward without them. Their lack of cooperation isn’t going to have any impact on whether or not the court issues the divorce order.

In fact, it could be argued that a non-cooperative spouse will make things easier in some ways. You are more likely to get a divorce order that adheres to the terms that you want if your spouse is not in court to argue for any other terms.

What steps should you take next?

That said, having a non-cooperative spouse is a sign that your divorce could become contentious. It’s very important that you understand all of your legal rights and the steps that you’ll need to take.