Can I Get A Divorce Even If My Spouse Doesn't Want One?
What Can I Do If My Spouse Does Not Want to Divorce?
It can be difficult to stick out a marriage when you and your spouse aren’t on the same page. A divorce can be just as tough for the same reason.
If your spouse refuses to get divorced, you are still free to divorce even if your spouse intends to make it difficult. You can file your divorce papers with the courts and will eventually be granted one after a period of time.
In the state of Oregon, nobody can stop you from divorcing your spouse if you truly want to, it just takes a bit more patience and the help of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer.
1. Determine the Grounds for Divorce
You must first provide a documented reason for seeking a divorce. Oregon is a no-fault divorce state, which means your reason can be “irreconcilable differences.”
2. File Your Divorce as a Sole Petitioner
When both spouses agree to seek a divorce, they may file as co-petitioners for an uncontested divorce. However, if one spouse does not agree to the divorce, the other spouse is left to file as a sole petitioner. This means he or she does not have the consent or knowledge from his or her spouse at the time of filing.
If you are filing as a sole petitioner, you should strongly consider retaining a divorce attorney to help you with the process before you file. If you anticipate your spouse will be contentious regarding the terms of your divorce, especially when it comes to children, finances, or property, your lawyer can help you more successfully navigate those issues.
3. Serve Your Papers & Wait for a Response
The sole petitioner will file the divorce papers and they will be served to the respondent—the other spouse. The respondent is asked to issue a response within 30 days, in which he or she will agree to or dispute the divorce.
4. Request a Default Judgment
If your spouse does not consent to the divorce or does not respond to the papers, you can ask the court for a default judgment and have them sign your divorce papers after a set amount of time has passed. While your spouse cannot prevent the divorce from happening, he/she can still contest certain aspects of the divorce in his/her response to your divorce petition.
5. Prepare for a Contested Divorce If Your Spouse Is Difficult
A contested divorce is likely to take longer than an uncontested divorce and can be much more problematic. Your spouse may refuse the divorce by refusing certain specifics, such as the division of property or child custody. By contesting these conditions, your spouse will effectively draw out the divorce process, which can make it more time-consuming and expensive.
However, in order to settle the contested issues, the court will schedule a hearing, during which your respective lawyers can negotiate the disputed issues.
In time, however, you will be able to obtain your divorce through the court, even if your spouse refuses.
Expecting a Difficult Divorce? We're Here for You
Filing for divorce from a spouse who doesn’t want to separate can be very complicated and overwhelming. Our experienced attorneys know how to handle contested divorces and we can work with you to ensure your rights are protected throughout the divorce process.
Contact McKinley Irvin in Oregon for legal help regarding your divorce.