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How to Get a Divorce When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want One

Having trouble with getting your spouse to accept your divorce? Here are the steps you might need to take…

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A divorce is never going to be easy. After all, it can take an emotional strain on not just your own life, but that of your family’s too.

This can be made even more difficult if your spouse is unwilling to accept the divorce, and delays it as much as possible. So, what can you do if this is the case?

Once you’ve gotten in touch with a Manchester, Bristol or London divorce solicitor, they’ll be able to advise you on the various steps to take if your spouse is refusing to comply. In this article, we’ll take you through the numerous avenues your solicitor will help you with. Take a look…Can a Spouse Refuse a Divorce?

As we all know, divorce can be a particularly contentious subject, even more so if your spouse is unwilling to go through with it.

Although you might think that the divorce process requires two people to willingly want to move forward with it, this isn’t exactly the case. In fact, although the courts will expect you to get your spouse on board, if just one of you wants a divorce it will happen.

Ultimately, as long as the legal and financial issues are resolved fairly, the divorce can go ahead without the agreement of one person in the relationship. The only issue is that negotiating these issues is likely to be a lot trickier without this other person. This is why the courts will expect you to take every possible avenue to get them to agree. Top Tips on Getting a Divorce When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want One

Although it can be extremely time consuming to comply with the court’s expectations, there are ways to do so both with and without the help of Divorce Solicitors. Below are the various steps you will be expected to take in order to go through with your divorce if your spouse is refusing to comply…

Be Clear on Your Grounds for Divorce

Before you decide to file for a divorce, it’s important that you know about the different grounds for divorce so you can choose which best suits your situation. In the UK, there are five different grounds, including:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion (for more than 2 years)
  • You’ve been separated for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce
  • You’ve been separated for more than 5 years

Petitions have been made over the years to allow people to file for no-fault divorce instead. This is supposed to be coming into effect in Autumn 2021, meaning that people will be to under no particular grounds.

Communicate with Your Spouse

Before filing for divorce, it’s important that you communicate this to your spouse if you feel it is safe and wise to do so. Of course, if you are in an abusive relationship, this might not be applicable to you. However, in situations where your spouse is simply not emotionally ready to split from you, try to talk to them about your wishes.

Ask them why they’re reluctant to divorce, and chat with them in an open and sensitive way. It would also be wise to point out that it is in their best interests to cooperate so they can fight their side of the battle. After all, when divorce strikes, the financial issues, as well as decisions about child and pet custody, don’t want to be missed out on.

By keeping things as amicable as possible, and letting them know that this will be going ahead with or without them, it should encourage them to get involved.

Enlist the Help of a Solicitor

Once you’re sure this is the next step for you, enlisting the help of experienced divorce lawyers would be wise. Especially in contentious divorces, where things aren’t so black and white, this is really important. After all, they’ll be able to advise you on the many steps that need to be taken if your spouse does not comply.

Apply for a Divorce

The next step is to apply for a divorce. Even if you don’t have your spouse’s blessing just yet, the application is the perfect start to get the ball rolling. This is because your spouse will be sent a copy for them to sign, called an ‘acknowledgement of service’ form.

The form will ask them whether they agree to the divorce, or if they intend to prevent it from happening. It’ll also ask them if they object to paying any costs you’ve tried to claim. They will need to respond within eight days of receipt, and you will get a Notice of Petition informing you that your partner has received this form.

Your spouse may refuse, which they can do by filling out that they’d wish to refute or defend the divorce. In this case, they will then be sent an ‘answer to divorce’ form wherein they must state why they disagree with the divorce. They’ll have 28 days to fill this out.

Apply for Deemed Service

In some cases, it’s not as simple as this, as the respondent may genuinely have not received the petition, so won’t sign the Acknowledgement of Service in time. In other cases, they might be refusing to acknowledge that they have received it. The only way the court can continue without them is if thereis evidence that they’re refusing to respond.

In this case, you can file this evidence at court, asking themfor an order of ‘deemed service’. If accepted, the court willassume that the petition has not been seen, and can move on with the next stage; the Degree Nisi.

Instruct a Process Server

On the other hand, if your application for deemed service isrefused or there’s no indication that your spouse has received the divorce papers, you can instruct a process server. This is someone who physically serves the divorce papers to your spouse, whether that be at their home or work.

Once delivered, the process server will provide you with a certificate service. This must then be presented in court, wherein the court will allow you to apply for a decree nisi.

Apply for a Decree Nisi

This is a document saying that the court sees no reason for your divorce not to go ahead. If submitted in time, it’s likely you’ll have to head to court to discuss the details of the case and move forward.

Apply for Alternative Service

If co-operation is futile, and you can prove to the court that you’ve made all the above attempts, you can apply for alternative service. This is where the court gives you permission to serve your spouse a notice to their relative or employer.

Apply for Dispensed Service

Finally, if none of the above are successful, you will be able to apply for a dispensed service, meaning you can proceed without your spouse’s acknowledgment. This can only be done if the court is satisfied that you have tried everything beforehand.

Let’s Get Divorced!

As you can tell, there is a large list of directions you can take if your spouse isn’t on board with your divorce. That said, there are ways around this so, no matter how time consuming, and potentially costly, you should be able to get your divorce. Good luck!