When your spouse asks you for a divorce, you feel surprised and shocked. You certainly don’t want to get divorced. Maybe you felt like there were some issues with the marriage, but you would rather work through them. You don’t simply want to end that marriage.
However, when you talk to your spouse, they’re adamant that they do want to get divorced. Can they still do this without your cooperation or approval? What steps do you need to take in a situation like this?
A divorce can still happen
The first thing to keep in mind is that a divorce can certainly still occur even if one person doesn’t want it to. Remember that your spouse can simply use no-fault divorce laws, so they don’t have to prove anyone was at fault in causing the breakdown of the marriage. They can file for a divorce without your permission. In fact, they can even get a default divorce without your cooperation.
Why you should cooperate
As a result, it is best to cooperate with your spouse, even if a divorce isn’t what you wanted. Don’t ignore the hearings or the divorce proceedings. Don’t just refuse to sign the paperwork. That divorce is going to happen either way.
If you don’t cooperate, it can actually harm your position. The divorce process should be about determining how to divide assets or child custody. But if your spouse is granted a default divorce, then you may not get any say in how these decisions are made. That doesn’t stop the divorce, so it would be better off if you cooperated with the process and worked to achieve the optimal outcome for yourself.
The use of conciliation services
One thing to think about is using conciliation services by filing for a Petition of Conciliation. If you do this and the petition is accepted, then you and your spouse cannot file for separation for at least 60 days. You can attend the scheduled conferences where reconciliation is not forced, but you get to work together to make decisions as a couple.
Divorce can be complicated. That’s why it’s often important to get legal advice, especially if you have significant assets – like a home – or you have children together. You don’t want the other person to steamroller you and get to make all of the decisions.