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Steps To Take If Your Spouse Says No To Divorce

Steps To Take If Your Spouse Says No To Divorce

August 11, 2023

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Steps To Take If Your Spouse Says No To Divorce

August 11, 2023

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Sometimes, even when it’s clear that the only solution is divorce, some spouses refuse to take that final step, instead opting to make the process difficult, creating obstacles wherever possible, for one reason or another. With that said, if you’re looking to finalize your divorce and move on, that kind of resistance can be particularly hard on you. 

If your spouse refuses to agree to a divorce and makes it a challenge, seek the help of a qualified divorce lawyer who can help you navigate your case and remove any hurdles in the way of your separation. 

Why Some Spouses Refuse to Agree to a Divorce

Everyone is different, which means every spouse that refuses to agree to divorce has their own reasoning. Still, some of the most common reasons spouses tend to make the process tougher include the following:

  • Wanting to stay together for the kids
  • Not wanting their spouse to move on, often to another partner
  • Taking their anger and resentment out on their spouse
  • Not wanting to give up control
  • Trying to avoid divorce matters, like property distribution and alimony payments 
  • Hope that if they remain persistent, they may be able to reconcile

Regardless of whether the spouse wants to remain together as a couple or not, some spouses are simply committed to making the process nearly impossible for their petitioning partner. 

Does My Spouse Need to Agree to the Divorce?

Sometimes, when a spouse refuses to “play nice” and agree to move forward with a divorce, the one petitioning may think twice and avoid engaging in the process altogether. It is a common misconception that the respondent spouse must agree to the divorce, but that is not the case in Minnesota. 

Spouses do not have to agree to a divorce. Even if your spouse stands firm in their decision to refuse your request for a divorce, you can still move forward with the process, as there are options available to finalize a divorce regardless of whether your spouse participates or not. 

What to Do if Your Spouse Says No to a Divorce

At any point throughout the divorce process, your spouse may be combative and flat-out refuse to cooperate with the divorce. Fortunately, you have options, though they depend on the phase in your divorce proceedings:

If Your Spouse Is Evading Service

The divorce process begins by serving a petition for the dissolution of your marriage. To accomplish service, you must engage in what is called the service of process, which consists of “serving” your spouse with copies of all filings as notice of your impending case. The next step in the divorce process is to file a petition for the dissolution of your marriage with the court.  

Sometimes, when a spouse expects to be served, they’ll do everything possible to evade that service. They’ll change their routine and become unavailable, all so that the individual trying to serve them cannot locate them. Difficult spouses often do so with the hopes that their partner will eventually give up.

If that is the case for you, you can petition the court for permission to serve your spouse through certified mail or publication, and a divorce lawyer can help you complete the service to proceed with your case. 

If Your Spouse Does Not Submit Their Response to the Court

After your spouse receives the documents via service of process, they’ll have 30 days under Minnesota law to serve their response on you. In their response, they will formally respond to the details in your petition.

If they choose to ignore their duty or refuse to respond, you can petition the court for a default divorce, through which you can prove that your spouse successfully received service but failed to make a timely response. The judge may then grant what you requested in your petition, meaning your marriage would be officially over. 

If Your Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers

Sometimes, spouses will get difficult toward the end of the divorce process. If you and your spouse negotiate your terms, but they refuse to sign the divorce papers, you or your divorce lawyer can request a court date in which the judge can proceed to finalize the divorce.

Seek Assistance from a Divorce Lawyer Right Away

Dealing with a difficult spouse can make an already challenging situation worse, but the experienced divorce attorneys at Johnson/Turner Legal thankfully know how to work around the struggle of a tough spouse. Contact our office today to book a Quick Guidance Call with a skilled divorce lawyer, and let’s discuss how we can help you.


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