Getting Divorced Without Your Spouse’s Signature or Consent

When couples go through a divorce, it is common for there to be disagreements. There are several ways to work through these disagreements and eventually come to a consensus on the terms of the divorce agreement. In many cases, spouses will hire a family law attorney to represent them and negotiate terms with the attorney for their spouse. If the spouses cannot agree, the case can go to court, where a judge will dictate the divorce terms. As with any case that goes to court, you forfeit control over the outcome and become dependent on the judge’s decision.

To maintain control of the terms of divorce, many couples will utilize alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation or a collaborative divorce. With mediation, the spouses meet with a 3rd party mediator without attorneys present to work through the terms of the divorce. With collaborative divorce, the spouses meet with their attorneys and have a 4-way negotiation.

With the advent of no-fault divorce, people are no longer required to show proof of any reason why they are seeking a divorce. No fault has made obtaining the termination of the status of their marriage (divorce) much easier, and people are no longer required to remain in an unhappy marriage or a potentially dangerous situation.

In all the cases mentioned, from mediation through litigation, the process involves both spouses. While they may not agree on the details, they both agree they want to be divorced.

In some cases, the spouses cannot even agree on whether they want to get divorced. After being served with papers, the respondent may even refuse to sign the papers. Not obtaining a signature does not mean that the process stops. You are not required to obtain a signature to get a divorce. Not getting the signature may delay the process, but it won’t stop it.

When divorce papers are served, the respondent, or the spouse receiving the initial paperwork, has 30 days to respond. The petitioner can be granted a default divorce if the respondent does not respond within 30 days of receiving notification. With a default divorce, the respondent gives up the right to negotiate. Just because they did not acknowledge or respond to the divorce papers, it does not mean they will not be legally responsible for spousal and child support. In fact, since they have given up their right to negotiate or contest the petitioner’s requests, if the court agrees to the petitioner’s terms, things can end up so much worse for the respondent than if they were an active participant in the divorce.

While the laws regarding divorce have made it easier for people to obtain a divorce even if the petitioner’s spouse does not agree, a strict process still needs to be followed for the courts to agree to a default divorce. When you work with a certified family law specialist, you will know you are in good hands, and the process will be followed to the letter so you may obtain your default divorce on your terms.


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San Jose, CA 95126

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TDC Family Law serves the entire state of California for Contempt of Court and Private Settlement Judge & Mediation

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