An Attorney Who Has Walked In Your Shoes

Can your spouse just ignore your divorce filing?

You tell your spouse that you’re thinking about divorce, and they inform you that they are “never” getting divorced. They say they won’t go along with it, and that’s when you know that this isn’t going to be an amicable process. It is going to be contested.

You move forward with the process anyway, and you serve your spouse with the divorce petition. According to the court order, they have 20 days to respond. But since they don’t want to get divorced, perhaps they just ignore the paperwork or even throw it away. Maybe they threaten never to respond so that you can’t end the marriage. Is this a viable tactic that they could use to shut down the divorce proceedings?

All they can do is delay the process

No, this tactic will not work to stop the divorce from occurring. The cooperation of both parties is not always necessary. If your spouse continues ignoring the paperwork or skipping court hearings, the court can eventually just give you a default divorce. You can still end your marriage, even if your spouse doesn’t want to and refuses to participate in the process.

That said, they can delay this process to some degree. For instance, you do still have to wait for the full 20 days for them to respond, even if you know they’re not going to. 

So your spouse can slow the process down and make it take longer than necessary, but there’s nothing they can do to prevent it from happening. They can just make the divorce more complicated, which is why it’s so important to understand your legal options.