The divorce process is rarely easy, even when both spouses agree that it’s time for the marriage to end. It can get even more challenging when one spouse doesn’t want the marriage to end or refuses to put any effort toward reaching a divorce settlement.
Our Fort Worth divorce attorneys have often represented clients who came to us upset or confused because they wanted a divorce, but their spouse didn’t. They often think that their spouse’s lack of cooperation can prevent a divorce from happening. That was true, at least to some extent, up until the 1970s, but it’s no longer true today.
Under no-fault divorce rules, one spouse can obtain a divorce even if the other party objects or fails to respond. The most common type of no-fault divorce in Texas is divorce based on “insupportability,” better known as irreconcilable differences.
If you file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, you will not need to prove that your spouse was at fault for the failed marriage. And your spouse’s consent to the divorce is not required.
A related misconception is that both parties are required to “sign the papers.” This is simply not true. While your spouse’s willingness to sign certain documents can make the divorce less expensive and less time-consuming, their signature is not required. Their refusal to sign anything or participate in the process will not prevent the divorce from moving ahead.
For example, it will be much easier to divide your marital property if your spouse signs a marital settlement agreement that can be submitted to the court. But, if your spouse refuses, the court can take steps like ordering mediation or, eventually, proceeding to a trial, where the judge would decide how to apportion your assets and debts.
Similarly, if you have minor children, it would be ideal if your spouse would agree to a parenting plan. But if they refuse to engage, then the court can use its power to set the custody and visitation schedule itself.
“Contested divorce” is the phrase describing a divorce where one spouse refuses to cooperate. While your spouse can’t stop the divorce from happening, their refusal can make things tougher, longer and more expensive. You’ll want to make sure you’re working with an experienced Fort Worth attorney who can guide you through the situation.
Schneider Law Firm’s Fort Worth team has helped numerous clients get through divorce despite their spouses’ lack of cooperation. To find out how we can assist you, please call our office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message to arrange a free initial consultation.