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

Asked about 1 year ago - Atlanta, GA

We live together in Georgia.

Additional information

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

Attorney answers (9)

  1. William M. Brownell Jr.

    Contributor Level 12

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. Darrell Brinnett Reynolds Sr.

    Contributor Level 16

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. Glen Edward Ashman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  4. Roger C. Wilson

    Contributor Level 9

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  5. William Robert Pike

    Pro

    Contributor Level 3

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  6. Steven P. Shewmaker

    Contributor Level 12

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. Jeffrey Allen Turner

    Contributor Level 3

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

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

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
  9. Samuel Jackson Siemon

    Pro

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . 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.

Related Topics

Divorce

Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

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