Contrary to popular belief, it is now possible to get a divorce in any U.S. state without the consent of your spouse. In the past, both spouses had to agree to the divorce and if one did not, it could make the dissolution of the marriage very difficult. Typically, lack of consent from one spouse no longer necessarily delays or complicates a divorce.
Regardless of consent, when there are children, and/or significant assets, property, investments, a business or debts, a divorce is more complicated than when these things are not present.
State Divorce Laws
All 50 states now allow for no-fault divorces and some still allow for fault divorces. Regardless of the kind of divorce you seek, divorce laws differ from state to state. Many states have similar divorce laws but each state has its own unique set of laws and procedures for getting a divorce.
It is important to talk with a lawyer who is licensed to help people in the state you wish to file for your divorce in. It is not mandatory to have a lawyer represent you when you are seeking a divorce but it is highly recommended.
No Fault Divorce
If your spouse is not agreeing to a divorce or you do not know where they live or work, etc., it is a good idea to get legal advice from a lawyer. They will likely suggest that you should file for a no fault divorce, even if you feel like it is your spouse’s fault for causing the divorce. The reason for this is, if you file for a fault based divorce, your non-consenting spouse may be able to contest the grounds for a divorce. If they contest the grounds, it will likely cause long delays in severing your ties with them as well as it will likely wind up costing you much more money than if your spouse were not in a position to be able to contest your request for a divorce.
Serving Divorce Papers Once you have spoken with someone who is qualified to give you legal advice about divorce in your state, you may proceed with serving your spouse with divorce papers according to the rules for service of process in your state. Most states allow divorce papers to be served by certified mail, sheriff’s service or a registered process server. Your spouse can be served at home, work, or anyplace else the person serving them the papers can find them. If your spouse is not home, service can be left with any other responsible adult (except yourself) at your spouse’s residence. Contrary to what many of us have seen on t.v. shows and in movies, even if your spouse refuses to take the papers, or leaves the premises while the server is trying to serve them the papers, they are considered served. In the event your spouse’s whereabouts are unknown, and you have proved to the court your diligence in trying to locate them, they may allow you to serve your spouse by publication in a newspaper or general readership.
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