What Happens When Your Spouse Refuses A Divorce?
When you decide to file for divorce, it can be a very rude awakening if your spouse simply puts his foot down and refuses to participate. However, he is legally within his rights to do so, and can make life difficult if he so chooses. Before you file for divorce, it is critical to know what you can and cannot do to overcome any of your spouse’s objections to beginning the divorce process.
Relevant Florida Law
Many couples in Florida are able to obtain an uncontested divorce – neither party objects, and the couple is able to work out a settlement with regards to property division, support and children’s issues. If your spouse does not agree to commence divorce proceedings, in Florida you may start the process to get what is referred to as a contested divorce, which will be far more involved and will take longer to complete.
There are only two grounds for divorce in Florida, as opposed to many other states: lack of mental capacity, or irreconcilable differences, which is what most of couples choose. To file for a contested divorce, you must have papers served on your spouse, after which she is given time to reply. If she does not, she will be deemed to have given up her chance to contest the divorce, which is enough to enter a default judgment against her. If this happens, you will be able to ask the court for the outcome you want, and as long as the Court finds that your requests are reasonable, they will very likely be granted.
If Your Spouse Responds
If your spouse responds to your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you will attend mediation and then proceed to trial if you do not settle in order to determine the outcome of issues such as asset division, support and children’s issues . Only one spouse must want the divorce in Florida for proceedings to go forward, but the other can still obstruct and cause trouble if so inclined. It may be possible to pursue sanctions if your spouse’s behavior becomes egregious, but if it does not rise to that level, you must still be able to conduct yourself with dignity no matter how much your spouse incites you.
The best way to combat any obstructionism is to be prepared with all the information you can possibly obtain. Florida law states, for example, that if asset distribution becomes contested, the only source of information acceptable as to who should receive certain assets (or be made responsible for certain debts) is “competent substantial evidence” – therefore, if you have all the relevant information, you have the clearest picture of how asset distribution will occur, regardless of any attempt by your spouse to muddy the waters.
Seek Experienced Assistance
Divorce is never easy, but it can get infinitely more complex if your spouse decides to dig in his proverbial heels. Contacting an experienced Orlando divorce attorney can help smooth the process. The dedicated attorneys at the firm of Goodblatt · Leo have years of experience and are happy to pass its benefits on to you. Contact us today to set up an appointment.