21 Mar What to do if Your Spouse Refuses to Get a Divorce?
No matter how ready you are for a divorce, your spouse might not be. For a variety of reasons, your spouse may want to make the divorce process difficult for you. Refusing to get divorced can make the process a little more challenging, but it does not make it impossible.
Luckily, you cannot be forced to stay in a marriage that you don’t want to be in. Either spouse has the right to terminate a marriage, even if your partner does not agree. Let’s run through some common ways your spouse can refuse a divorce – and what happens.
Your Spouse Disappears
The first step in the divorce process is filing papers, which are then served to your spouse. If your spouse cannot be located, then you can go to court for help. You’ll need to show that you put in serious efforts in serving your spouse. This includes efforts such as reaching out to their friends and family and utilizing a process server.
A judge can grant permission for an alternative method of service. There are a few options here:
- Leave the papers with anyone over the age of 16 at your spouse’s residence,
- Service by posting, and
- Service by publication.
Service by posting happens when the divorce notice is posted at the courthouse. Service by publication involves an advertisement letting your spouse know what is happening. If children are involved, service by publication must happen. As of January 2021, Texas amended its code to allow service by email and social media if other methods were not working.
Your Spouse Refuses to Answer the Petition
Once being served with divorce papers, your spouse has 20-28 days to answer. If they do not answer, they are in default. In this case, you can petition the judge for a default divorce. You will need to show that your spouse was served the papers and that they did not answer. In that case, the judge will then rule on the terms of the divorce. This includes aspects such as child support.
Your Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers
If your spouse does not sign the papers you filed, it becomes a contested divorce. This is when negotiations begin between both of you with your attorneys. Contesting the divorce, while it makes the process lengthier, will still lead to a divorce in the end. You may have to appear in front of a judge. This can happen if your spouse is simply refusing to sign any papers without asking to change the terms. In that case, the judge will once again determine the final divorce terms.
Once the divorce terms are determined by the judge, a final divorce decree is given. Even if your spouse does not sign the decree, the divorce still becomes finalized.
Do I Need an Attorney?
In a situation where your spouse is refusing divorce, an attorney is highly recommended. The road ahead might be less cut and dry with an uncooperative spouse, and attorneys are there to help those situations. They will help exhaust every option needed to ensure you get your divorce as seamlessly as possible. If you have a spouse that is being difficult through this process, contact Navarette Bowen P.C. We have a team of experienced divorce lawyers that can help. Our main office is located in downtown Denton and you can contact us to set up a confidential consultation to discuss your circumstances and receive guidance.