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Can My Spouse Fight a California Divorce?

Couple speaking with a lawyer.

When it comes to separation and divorce, it’s rare for two spouses to simultaneously realize that a divorce is in the best interest of both parties. Therefore, typically one spouse is the first to understand that a divorce is imminent, and they often must show the other spouse that the marriage is over.

In some situations, the other spouse catches on quickly and is willing to sign the papers and start the process; however, it isn’t always that easy. Unfortunately for some, their spouses hold on in hopes that they can persuade them to change their minds. Therefore, what happens when one partner is unwilling get divorced?

Can My Spouse Fight a California Divorce?

In short, the answer is no. Once the petitioner (the spouse who wants to get divorced and files to start the process) serves the other spouse the divorce papers, the unwilling spouse has 30 days to respond to being served. If he or she fails to respond within that timeframe, the petitioner can then file “default” paperwork with the courts.

What Is a Default Divorce?

A default divorce is a divorce where the respondent (the spouse being served) does not file the “response to dissolution of marriage” paperwork. In other words, they automatically consent to the divorce by not filing.

When a spouse defaults on the divorce, they are essentially at the whim of the court concerning their portion of the proceedings. It’s possible that neither party will have to appear in court, but if a court appearance is necessary, only the petitioner (the one who filed for divorce) is invited to the proceedings; the respondent (and in this case, the defaulter) is not. 

What Happens If They Contest?

As you can see, your spouse cannot stop the divorce process if you choose to file. In fact, if they do not respond to you filing for a divorce, it may help you get the best post-divorce result for your case.

However, if your spouse does respond, you’ll need an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer from Stolar Law Group to help you get the results you’re looking for. With over three decades of experience in family law, we know what you need to keep the process moving.

Interested in filing for a divorce? Contact us online or call (818) 600-6534 now for a consultation.

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