Can your spouse ignore the divorce petition?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Divorce |

When you decide to get divorced, one of the first steps is to serve your spouse the divorce petition. You can do this yourself or you can hire someone else to do it for you. In any case, your spouse is officially given the paperwork so they know you want a divorce and they have to respond to it.

When your spouse gets this petition, they will be told exactly how long they have to respond. In some cases, a person who does not want to get divorced may decide to drag their feet or procrastinate. They may even opt to ignore the divorce filing entirely. If you ask them why, it may become apparent that they think you can’t get divorced without their cooperation. But is this true?

You don’t need your spouse to get divorced

No, this is not true. Your spouse certainly can ignore the divorce petition if they want. But if they miss the deadline, they are then in default, and the court can offer a default judgment.

What this means is that the court can essentially rule that you are divorced, whether or not your spouse is present. You are still granted the end of your marriage, and your ex can’t prevent that.

Because they are in default and not attending court hearings, this may actually help your position in some ways. Couples often get into disagreements over child custody or how to divide marital assets. But there can’t be any disagreements if your spouse is ignoring the divorce petition, and the court will simply make the ruling that it sees fit.

An uncooperative spouse can make divorce more complex. Take the time to carefully look into all of your legal options so that you’ll know exactly what steps to take in this situation.


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