How to File for Divorce When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want One

Reaching the conclusion that you want a divorce may feel like a relief. After all, you’ve come to an important decision, and it’s a weight off your mind. When you sit down to discuss divorce with your spouse, what happens if he or she doesn’t agree?

Divorcing someone who doesn’t want to get divorced is fairly common. Although many couples come to the decision together, in some cases, one spouse is asking for couples therapy or outright refusing to end the marriage.

If you’re the person asking, there is good news: you can file for divorce even though he or she may not want one. Divorce is a legal process, and you can file for it without the other person’s agreement or permission.

Photo by Paul Aloe.

To do so, speak to an attorney, who can file the divorce complaint. Once that paperwork is filed, your lawyer will send a copy of it to your spouse. If he or she doesn’t file a response within 30 days, you may be granted divorce by default. If your spouse objects to the divorce by filing an answer or denying one of the statements in your divorce complaint, you will both go before a judge for a hearing.

Cost of Divorce When Spouse Doesn’t Want One

Whether the divorce will cost more depends on your attorney. Divorce attorney fees vary widely, some charging as little as $90 plus court fees and others starting at $1,200. Most attorneys will charge more for complicated divorces, but those complications are usually about property and asset division or child custody.

Remember, in North Carolina, you must live separately for one year prior to filing, so keep that in mind when planning your divorce.

This and other legal questions are answered each month in our Second Saturday Divorce workshop. Join us to learn more.

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