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Can I file for a divorce without my husband knowing? If so, can I divorce him without his consent?

Atlanta, GA |
Filed under: Divorce Adultery

We live together in Georgia.

I will be divorcing under "verbal abuse" and his alcohol abuse.

Attorney Answers 9

  1. No. Your husband will have to be served with a complaint for divorce to get the divorce process started. Yes. If you want the divorce, your husband doesn't have to agree or consent to it.

  2. You can get a divorce without his consent, however, due process requires that he is made aware of the action. You need to retain an attorney.

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  3. You can file without him knowing, to the extent that you do not have to have the complaint served on him immediately when you file it. So you can control when he finds out about it to the extent that you can determine when it is served on him. But you will have to have to get the complaint to him sooner or later in order for the case to proceed and for you to get the ultimate divorce. You certainly can divorce him without his consent. Not without his knowledge, but without his consent. If he does not consent, then called a contested divorce as opposed to an un-contested one. I don't know if this answers all your concerns or answers them completely. If not, feel free to contact me, especially by email, and I'll be glad to discuss it further with you then, including by phone if necessary. Regardless, if you are going to do this, especially on a contested (non-consent) basis, I would urge you to do it with the assistance of a lawyer, not on your own. Contact me or someone here if you want to discuss this further. Good luck to you.

  4. You cannot get divorced without your husband knowing about it, but you do not need his consent.

    Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:

  5. While you do not need his consent, you did need to serve him.

    Note that a divorce WITH his agreement and signature willl be FAR cheaper than serving him with a contested divorce. In not talking with him, you will likely add thousands of dollars in costs to a case that may otherwise be measured in hundreds of dollars.

    Let me add that you need a lawyer to do this right.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

  6. Yes, you can file without your husband's knowledge and consent. You have a constitutional right to marry whomever you like, with some narrow exceptions (e.g. some minors, some people you are related to, same sex persons in some states, etc.). You have about the same right to divorce, pretty much at will. All you have to do is properly file a case. So, you can file it without his knowledge.

    However, in order for the court to have jurisdiction to actually divorce you, you need to properly serve the papers on him. Through that process, he will obviously learn of the divorce.

    Can you divorce without his consent? Yes, absolutely. The days of requiring consent are long long gone. Now, it is always easier to settle the case by both of you agreeing to the terms. However, if you two do not agree, you can submit your issues to a judge (or to a jury in Georgia and Texas, albeit on all issues except child custody and child support). One of the simplest issues will be whether the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court will sever the marriage.

    Good luck.

  7. You will certainly be able to file the Divorce without his knowledge but eventually he will need to be notified (service etc) of the pending action in order for due process to occur. He does not need to consent to anything in order for you to obtain a divorce.

  8. You can file without his knowledge; however, you cannot proceed without his knowledge. He must be served with legal process. I would suggest you contact an attorney to discuss the concerns you are trying to address.

  9. This is a very common question. The answer is no, you cannot file without him getting notice and yes, you can divorce him without his consent.
    Ok, you knew I could not just leave it there, I’m a lawyer, I have way more to say than just a simple answer to your question.
    A Divorce is a civil action akin to most other civil actions from a procedural standpoint. As such, the Plaintiff (the party asking for the divorce) submits their complaint for divorce to the court asking for the relief they seek. Then, the defendant must be served with notice that the civil action has been filed against them. This “service” can be accomplished in a number of ways, the most common being service by the sheriff or if the parties are amicable, by having the defendant sign an acknowledgment of service in front of a notary. Without some type of service, the divorce will not go forward. So, as I said above, the answer is no, you cannot file for divorce without your husband knowing.
    Now, here comes a long answer to your second question. Georgia is a grounds state, meaning that you must have a ground (reason) to get divorced. The divorce statute lists a number of grounds such as adultery, cruel treatment and habitual drunkenness among others. In the 1970’s the legislature decided that it was not a good idea to make people stay married until they started drinking and hitting each other, so they added the ground of irreconcilable differences. If the plaintiff is willing to testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no hope of reconciliation the court can grant a divorce even if the defendant does not want to be divorced.

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