Sometimes getting divorced is a mutual decision between you and your spouse, and the process runs (somewhat) smoothly. In many cases, the decision to divorce is one-sided. In those situations, the partner who is unwilling will eventually go along with the process — even if he or she refuses to speak to you or respond to emails. In the end, you have what’s known as an “uncontested” divorce.
Of course, in some cases, that’s not what happens. The partner requesting a divorce might move out, meet with an attorney, and begin the process by filing the paperwork. It’s far easier to complete the process with input from him or her. During this time, you can settle issues with mediation or arbitration. Unfortunately, he or she may refuse to speak to you and may refuse to sign anything, meaning you can’t settle your affairs.
Tips to Manage Divorce
However, you can still obtain a divorce. Here are some tips:
- First, inform your attorney up front if your spouse is uncooperative. Your lawyer needs all the information he/she can get.
- Second, keep trying to reach out to your partner, in a polite way. Check with your lawyer about the best approach; he or she may advise you to cease communication in some situations. You should also maintain exemplary behavior as a parent and a human, meaning pay your bills, go to work, etc. An uncooperative spouse may turn angry and look for ammunition to use against you.
- Your lawyer will file the divorce paperwork. If your spouse doesn’t respond within 30 days, you may be granted a divorce by default. Sometimes, the divorcee will try to avoid “being served” in person, but this is difficult to do.
- If your spouse objects to the divorce, you may end up before a judge for a hearing.
In a situation where you are granted divorce by default, a judge will often rely on the information you have provided, meaning your spouse may lose his/her say in property division, child custody, and financial support. Sometimes, the threat of not having a say will prompt people to participate.
Every divorce is a little bit different, so ask your attorney about your situation. Or, visit our monthly workshop where you can ask an attorney, a financial adviser, and a therapist about the next steps in the process.