If I want to divorce with my husband but he does not want to end the relationship, can I still get divorced?

What is the fast and best way to end this relationship? And how to escape his harassment?

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Family Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states it is not necessary for both spouses (or domestic partners) to agree to a divorce. Either spouse can decide to end their marriage. It is not necessary for the other spouse to agree to it. The spouse who does not want to get a divorce cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case. They do not have to sign anything to agree to the divorce. If your spouse does not participate in the case, you will still be able to get a “default” judgment (i.e. "divorce by default") and the divorce will go through.

Specifically, in a situation such as long as the petitioning spouse (the spouse seeking the divorce) serves a valid summons and complaint with the court and the respondent (the non-filing spouse), the petitioner is entitled to a default divorce if the respondent fails to file an answer to the action within a specified time (typically 30-60 days). After that period, they will be deemed to have "defaulted". Accordingly, the petitioner can then file their final paperwork and appear before the judge, who will make their ruling solely on the petitioner's written/oral testimony. A divorce is then granted generally on the terms that are requested.

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