Marriage certainly has to be mutual. Even if you don’t have a ceremony in the traditional style, you both have to sign the marriage certificate. There’s no way for one person to declare a marriage when the other person doesn’t agree.
But does the same process apply to divorce? Say that you would like to get a divorce but your spouse does not want to get one. Do they have to agree with you? Do you have to make this decision mutually? Or is there something that you could do to continue to seek the divorce even if your spouse did not want it?
Only one person needs to file for divorce
If you’re in this situation and you are feeling a bit trapped, there’s good news. Only one of you has to file for divorce and it certainly does not have to be mutual.
You do have to notify your spouse about the filing. But even if they ignore those notifications or if you can’t get in touch with them for some reason, you can move forward with a default divorce. As long as you didn’t skip any steps and you honestly did try to get your spouse to cooperate, the court can then rule in your favor and you get a divorce even without your spouse’s approval.
In some ways, you could even argue that a default divorce may work in your favor and give you a better result than if your spouse had agreed to participate in the process. If they don’t even want a divorce, odds are they’re not going to agree with you about the specifics in terms of child custody, property division and other major questions. This can lead to a long divorce process as the court seeks a solution.
With default divorce, however, the terms that you’ve requested are generally just granted as long as they’re legal. So you may find that this process takes a bit of extra time since you have to wait for certain deadlines, but you may gain some of that time back because you and your spouse don’t have to argue over these terms in court.
What do you need to do?
If you want to divorce, no matter where your spouse stands on the issue, just make sure that you understand all of the legal steps to take to get this process underway.