Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse

Divorce is a painful thing and it never comes with cherries on top. As complex as the issues that arise due to divorce may be, divorce itself is no easy. One of the major complexities of divorce itself is divorcing an unwilling spouse. This kind of divorce where one spouse is not willing to get the divorce while the other does dissolution of marriage is known as a Contested Divorce. Contested divorces are very time consuming and expensive.

Unlike a divorce in which both spouses agree to it, a contested divorce requires you to face trial in front of a judge and argue the fact why your marriage needs to be ended. The laws and procedures which need to be followed are different and vary from one American state to other states.

The first step is to draft a petition for divorce which generally includes a list of required information about the spouses. Their names, date of births, residential address, and date of marriage are some essentials to name a few. Another important thing is to state the reason why you want to divorce your spouse.

You should also start to prepare some additional paperwork including financial statements, child custody and child support agreements, spousal support agreements, and other important paperwork.

Submit your divorce petition with all the essentials to the clerk of the court along with the filing fee. By law, you are obligated to file your divorce petition in the city or state you reside in. According to the law in the state of Ohio, you and your spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 6 months to be eligible to file a divorce in this state.

You should then send copies of your divorce papers to your spouse for which you can use private process or the help of a law enforcement officer. Some jurisdictions even allow you to serve your spouse with the divorce paper copies via certified or registered mail.

After this, you need to wait for the spouse to respond. The spouse has to create a written response and the time in which they have to respond varies from state to state. In the case of an unwilling spouse, there may be a case that the spouse doesn’t respond and then you may be able to make a default judgment and proceed with the divorce.

After this, you need to face trial before a judge who considers your case in front of you and your spouse and discussed the reasons for divorce. There are certain reasons or grounds which are recognized by law and allow you to get a divorce including adultery, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, imprisonment, any gross neglect of duty, willful abandonment for a year, living apart without cohabitation for a year and incompatibility. If any of these reasons are presented before the judge, he makes necessary investigations and considers the evidence to see whether the other spouse is at fault and has committed any of the above-mentioned things. After close consideration, the judge issues a verdict for an official end of marriage.

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