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Can your spouse just ignore the divorce papers?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Divorce

You decide that you want a divorce and you tell your spouse that you hope it can be amicable. The two of you can work together to end the marriage.

Unfortunately, your spouse tells you they don’t believe in divorce and they refuse to get one. You serve them the divorce papers, and they won’t even read them. Your spouse believes that cooperation is necessary. It took two people to get married, so they think it takes two people’s consent to get divorced. Is this actually true?

You can still get a default divorce

No, this is not true. Divorce can be initiated and completed by only one person. You do not need your spouse’s cooperation, and ignoring the divorce papers isn’t going to make it impossible for you to end the marriage. 

What may happen is that your divorce can take longer. After you serve the papers, your spouse has a certain amount of time within which they need to reply. If they never reply, then the court can move ahead with a default divorce. But you do still need to give your spouse the required amount of time to let them consider the paperwork – even if you know that they aren’t going to read it or sign it.

Your legal options

An amicable divorce often goes more smoothly and quickly than a contentious divorce. But you cannot necessarily control how your spouse approaches the situation. If they are going to be combative or ignore the paperwork, it may make your divorce more complex than it needs to be. At a time like that, it’s very important for you to understand all of your legal options.