According to the CDC, almost half of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. You believe yours might be one of them, but your spouse wants to keep trying to make it work or refuses to discuss divorce.
What can you do?
This article by the Philadelphia divorce lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman explains your options when your spouse is not ready or refuses to divorce.
If you are considering divorce and believe or know your spouse is reluctant to agree, give us a call. We will explain all of your options and guide you through the process even if your spouse refuses to participate in your divorce.
The First Step to Take if Your Spouse Refuses a Divorce: Consult with a Divorce Lawyer
If you’ve broached the subject of divorce with your spouse and they have refused to discuss it, you must speak with an experienced divorce lawyer to understand your rights and options. You can divorce your spouse without their participation, but it adds some complexity to the process.
In Pennsylvania, if your spouse will not agree to divorce you have limited options. You cannot divorce amicably by filing an uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania. You cannot divorce using mediation, because your spouse will not attend.
Your divorce attorney will explain your options for filing for divorce when your spouse refuses to participate. Unfortunately, an uncontested divorce is probably not one of them. If it was, under 23 Pa.C.S. § 3301(c), a couple can divorce by mutual consent. They file the necessary paperwork with their county clerk (prothonotary), pay the filing fee, wait the mandatory 90-day period, and then a final divorce decree is entered.
If your spouse will not consent, you will need to wait one year from date of separation in order to proceed with your divorce without the consent of your spouse. Contact a good family lawyer to discuss the process.
Challenges that Arise from a Reluctant Spouse
1. Attendance at Court Hearings
A spouse reluctant to divorce may not appear at scheduled court hearings. If the judge adjourns and reschedules to give your spouse another opportunity to appear, that delays the process. Eventually, however, the court will proceed without the participation of your spouse.
2. Disclosure of Finances
If there is no agreement between the parties, both parties in a divorce must file financial disclosures with the court. If your spouse does not participate in the divorce process, the court will proceed without your spouse. If this applies to you, be sure to work with an experienced divorce lawyer.
3. Negotiating Support, Custody, and Property Distribution
If your spouse refuses to discuss the terms of your divorce, the Court will decide these issues.
What If Your Spouse Refuses to Sign the Divorce Papers?
It is possible to finalize the divorce without your spouse’s participation. . For example, if you and your divorce lawyer decide to pursue divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken under 23 Pa C.S. § 3301(d), and your spouse will not leave the family home-, ) your divorce lawyer, in certain circumstances, can file for your exclusive possession of the family home.
Talk with an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
The divorce process becomes much more stressful when one spouse is reluctant to divorce or is ignoring your divorce filing. We have over forty years of experience helping families in the Philadelphia area get through their divorce with the best results possible. Put our experience to work for you.