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Can My Spouse Prevent Divorce by Ignoring It?

There are many times when one spouse wishes to get a divorce and the other does not. Whether they are in denial or unaware that a divorce is imminent, they cannot prevent divorce simply by ignoring it. While no one can stop a person from obtaining a divorce if they want it, the spouse who is not in favor of the divorce can certainly complicate the process.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Divorces, where both parties can agree on the terms of their split (uncontested divorces), are ideal both in terms of time and money, but this does not always work for every couple. When one spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, the other spouse will have to seek a contested divorce, which must go through a family court. The spouse seeking the divorce must formally notify the other spouse with divorce papers, giving them a chance to appear in court. If the spouse fails to appear in court for the scheduled divorce hearing, the spouse seeking the divorce can request a default divorce, meaning that the court will honor the original request and all of its terms.

No One Can Ignore Divorce

In other cases, a spouse cannot get the other spouse to sign divorce papers simply because they cannot be located. In this scenario, the courts will allow a filing on the basis of abandonment. If the spouse cannot be located or contacted within six months, the court can grant the divorce without a hearing.

Sometimes a refusal to sign divorce papers is an act of spite, but there are other reasons as well. Consider the following ways to help prevent the likelihood of a spouse refusing a divorce:

  • All 50 U.S. states offer no-fault divorces. This means that a couple does not have to cite a particular reason for divorce other than “irreconcilable differences.” Choosing to file a divorce on no-fault grounds can eliminate the finger pointing that can lead to a scorned spouse’s refusal to sign divorce papers.
  • In many cases, a spouse may be reluctant to sign divorce papers because they feel that the terms of the divorce are unfair. Mediation services with the help of a third party are an effective way to come to a resolution that satisfies both spouses.

Getting the Right Help

Divorce law can be complicated without the assistance of an experienced lawyer to guide you. With more than a century of collective legal experience, Modern Family Law is highly familiar with the nuances of Colorado divorce laws and can help you understand all of your options. It is our goal to help resolve your divorce as quickly and smoothly as possible by preparing for any contingencies before they arise.

If you are considering a divorce in Colorado, or are having difficulty getting your spouse to sign divorce papers, we encourage you to consult with a Colorado divorce lawyer at our firm to see how we can help.

Posted November 12, 2015
by: MFL Team

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