Sometimes love dies, but only for one person in a relationship. Maybe one spouse wants to stay married for the kids or for financial reasons, while the other spouse is ready to move on. If you are in a situation where your partner won’t agree to a divorce, it doesn’t mean the divorce won’t move forward. In this blog, we will explore how an individual can finalize a contested divorce without the cooperation of their spouse.
After the Petition Is Filed
Let’s say you have already filed your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and served copies of all documents on your spouse. Now, it’s your spouse’s turn to act:
The spouse must file a response to the petition, along with other documents and financial disclosures. There’s typically a period of discovery, where you produce documents to each other. The parties may attempt to negotiate a marital settlement agreement. If your spouse refuses to participate, this does not mean the divorce goes away.
If your spouse responds to your petition, but you are unable to negotiate a marital settlement agreement, your case likely will be set for trial. You and your attorney will present evidence, your spouse will present his or her case, and the judge will issue an order finalizing your divorce.
Divorce by Default
The California Courts webpage about responding to a divorce or separation says this:
“In California, as long as 1 person wants to end the marriage or domestic partnership, the court can end it, even if the other spouse or domestic partner does not agree or want to get divorced or legally separated.”
If your spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition within 30 days of being service, your divorce may be finalized as a “true default.” To get a final order from the Judge, though, you will still need to complete a number of documents, including:
- Request to Enter Default;
- Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation;
- Judgment; and
- Notice of Entry of Judgment.
Other paperwork may be submitted if you are requesting a child custody order, child support, spousal support, and division of community property and debt.
It Is Possible to Move on Without Your Partner’s Consent
An experienced California divorce attorney can help you finalize your contested divorce. Having someone on your side may make the whole process a little easier.Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist, and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.