Going through a divorce can be an enormously difficult process, psychologically, emotionally, financially, and legally. This can be much more painful when your spouse refuses to cooperate with the process. In most cases however, including within a covenant marriage in Arizona, it is possible to proceed with a divorce without your spouse’s consent or signature. However, this does extend the divorce process. Depending on the type of marriage you have, you may have several legal remedies available to you in order to secure your divorce.
In order to make your spouse accept the initial petition for dissolution, you may consider the use of a process server in order to dispense with the need for their signature. If the divorce is uncontested but your spouse for some reason refuses to sign the final settlement order, you will have to present an affidavit to the court to prove that the divorce papers were served. You will also need to provide proof that your spouse did not respond to the petition in the number of days that they had to respond. The divorce will then have to be adjudicated by a judge in order to dispense with their need for a signature.
Things are slightly more complex if you entered a covenant marriage in Arizona. Dissolving a covenant marriage is by statute more restrictive than the dissolution of a traditional marriage. If the spouse does not consent to a divorce, you’ll have to meet one of the statutory grounds for divorce for one to be granted. In most cases, barring other evidence (abuse, abandonment, adultery, etc.), this may require living apart from your spouse for a period of two years before an Arizona judge will grant the divorce without the signature or consent of your spouse. You should speak with an experienced attorney when deciding whether to obtain your divorce using this method if you are in a covenant marriage.
Steps You Can Take
Along with legal remedies, there are some steps that you can take when your spouse won’t consent to the dissolution of marriage.
- It’s important not to blame your spouse. Some people don’t readily acclimate to the idea that their marriage is ending and may react emotionally. It’s important that you remain calm, but firm if that is your choice, in order to get your spouse to come around.
- Give your spouse time to process. It may take your spouse some time to process that fact that you want a divorce. Be patient and willing to answer any questions if they ask.
- File your paperwork correctly the first time. A spouse may take advantage of the fact that your paperwork was improperly filed in order to further hold up the process.
- It’s vital that you attend and maintain your composure for all mediation sessions between you and your spouse. If your spouse sees that you are trying to work with them, they will be much less likely to resist the process. Talk about ways that this can benefit your spouse.
- Create a plan with your spouse for separation of possessions, partial custody, etc. Creating a plan that works for both you and your spouse will help them see that you have their best interest in mind.
Before you make any decisions regarding divorce, an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this difficult and emotional experience, tailoring to your specific needs. Simon Law Group has attorneys with more than 30 years of experience who can help you come out of the other side of your divorce experience. Contact our attorneys today for a consultation.