The best-case scenario for a divorce is an uncontested divorce, in which both parties agree to the dissolution of the marriage and cooperate in the dividing of marital property and determining things like alimony and custody (if necessary). But if one spouse refuses to participate in the divorce process, it can make the divorce process much more difficult.
Alabama is a no-fault divorce state. This means that a spouse does not have to prove marital misconduct to obtain a divorce. They only need to allege “irreconcilable differences.” Also, Alabama law doesn’t require that both spouses agree to end their marriage. One party can file for divorce regardless of whether the other is reluctant, resistant, or simply doesn’t want to end their marriage. Although a reluctant spouse has no legal right to prevent a divorce from moving forward, challenges may still arise during the divorce process when both parties are not on the same page. Below are some ways to move forward if one spouse refuses to cooperate in the divorce process.
A collaborative divorce is typically a good option if a spouse is reluctant to divorce. During the collaborative process, a team of professionals is assembled to help spouses communicate respectfully and reach an agreement regarding child custody, support, and property division. Since collaborative divorce involves a mediator or mental health professional, it can help to reduce tension and provide both spouses with tools to process their emotions in a healthy manner. The collaborative process is informal and allows spouses to negotiate results that work best for them.
If your spouse is not cooperating, you may have grounds for a fault-based divorce. This type of divorce requires you to prove that your spouse has committed certain actions that have caused the breakdown of the marriage, such as adultery or abuse. While fault-based divorces can be more difficult to prove, they can provide grounds for a divorce even if your spouse is not willing to cooperate.
In many states, you can file for a no-fault divorce, which means you do not have to prove that your spouse has done anything wrong. Instead, you only need to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Once the papers are served, the state will typically allow your spouse 30 days to file a Response to the Petition. If your spouse does not respond, it will not stall the divorce process, and it might actually help your divorce move through the legal system quickly. At that point, a motion for an Order of Default can be filed, allowing you to complete the divorce without your spouse. In effect, not signing the divorce papers means your spouse is giving up their right to contest your terms or negotiate a divorce settlement agreement.
If all else fails then you may need to pursue litigation in order for your case to be heard in court. Litigation typically takes longer than other methods of resolving a divorce but it also gives each party more control over how their case is handled and allows them access to legal representation throughout the process. It’s important that you have an experienced attorney representing your interests during this process so that you get the best outcome possible for your case.
Seeking mediation, hiring a divorce lawyer, filing for a fault-based or no-fault divorce, seeking a default judgment, or considering collaborative divorce can help you move forward with the divorce process. It is essential to work with an experienced divorce lawyer in Alabaster who can help you understand your options and guide you through the process. No matter what method you choose for resolving your divorce, it’s important that you have patience and understanding when dealing with someone who isn’t cooperating with you during this difficult time.
Remember that communication is key when trying to resolve any issue related to a divorce so try and remain open-minded about finding solutions that work for both parties involved. With patience and understanding from both sides, it’s possible for two people who are divorcing each other to peaceably come out on top despite any disagreements they might have had during the marriage itself.