Can I Divorce If My Spouse Says No?

If you found yourself in the situation where you want a divorce but your spouse has said something to the effect of, “I’ll never give you a divorce” then you may feel as if you have no choice but to stay in an unhappy marriage.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not up to your spouse to “grant” you a divorce, because that is just not how it works. In California, the courts do not require that both spouses want to end a marriage to grant a divorce. All that matters is that one spouse wants out.

This means that either you or your spouse can file for divorce, even if the other spouse does not want a divorce. If your spouse says that they do not want a divorce, or that they refuse to give you a divorce, please know that these are “idle” threats.

If you want a divorce, your spouse cannot stop you. They can’t stop you by refusing to participate in the case either. In fact, if your spouse does absolutely nothing, and refuses to respond to the divorce complaint after being served, you can still get a “default” judgement and your divorce will be pushed through the courts.

Do I have to prove fault? Do I have to show that my spouse cheated on me or abused me to get a default judgement? No, you do not. California is a no-fault divorce state, therefore, you do not need to show that your spouse’s behavior led to the divorce. Or, that your spouse did something wrong.

All that matters is that you want a divorce. To get a no-fault divorce in California, you simply cite “irreconcilable differences” on the divorce paperwork.

Proper Divorce Planning is Key

If you are certain that you want to end your marriage, know that proper divorce planning is critical. How are you going to handle things? Do you have children, and are you financially independent?

Talking to a divorce attorney, even before you tell your spouse can save you a lot of time and money as you go through the motions.

Please note that the courts do not give preference to the first person who files for divorce, however, there are definite advantages to being the person to file first. For one, you’re thinking strategically and not “reacting” to your spouse’s filing.

Need a Los Angeles divorce attorney? Contact us for a free consultation!