What if My Spouse “Won’t Give Me a Divorce”?
There was a time, and in a few states, it is still true, if a couple wanted to get a divorce there must be a proven reason such as infidelity, abuse, abandonment, or mental cruelty. In Florida, for example, this is no longer the way divorce works. Now, if only one person in the couple wants a divorce, or dissolution of marriage as it is now termed, the court will grant their request. Florida is what is termed a “no-fault state.”
While this sounds simplistic, it does not mean a person can just file for a divorce and get one without going through the usual procedures. The same guidelines apply for a divorce where only one person wants the divorce as when both parties want the divorce. If there are no minor children, no real property and both parties agree completely on alimony, distribution of marital property, as well as submit a financial disclosure, a simple or uncontested divorce can be obtained. County courthouses have the necessary paperwork to be filled out. Once one party has served the other, and the receiving party has responded (within 20 days), and fees have been paid, a date will be set to go before a judge. He or she will ask each party if the marriage has been irrevocably broken and if both answer “yes” the divorce will be granted. However, this rather simple process is highly unlikely when only one person wants a divorce.
Usually, in cases where only one person wants a divorce, the case will be hotly contested and can sometimes be drawn out for a very long time in hopes of delaying the inevitable. The offended party will often ask the judge to require marriage counseling before ruling on the case. Many delaying tactics such as depositions, motions, interrogatories, and orders to produce, will be used. Mediation, required in most Florida jurisdictions, is rarely successful as the party not wanting the divorce will refuse to reach an agreement for a marital settlement. Thus, more time will be needed as a court date must be set. In addition to more time being required, the cost of this type of divorce is usually much higher than when both parties at least agree there should be a divorce.
However, no matter how many delaying tactics are used, the day in court will eventually come. And, no matter how much one of the parties does not want the divorce, the judge, in the end, will grant the divorce. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County in Florida, New York, or Washington DC, and have more questions about how single party divorce works, Florida, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondocan help. Attorney Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will meet with you to answer questions and share how he can work to help you through your divorce proceedings. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, on Saturday from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. You call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment.