The wife can file for divorce and proceed with or without the husband's appearance. The wife must ensure that the husband is properly served and that the process server completes an affidavit of service.
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File for divorce ASAP!
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The wife should contact a local divorce lawyer ASAP. That the husband does not want to end the marriage has nothing to do with it: she's entitled to a divorce and an economic division whether or not he wants one.
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The wife should consult in person with one or more divorce attorneys so that she can not only learn in general what her rights and obligations are in the context of a divorce action, but also receive actionable advice based upon a review of her specific situation with full details.
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Wife's remedy is to file for divorce. New York now (thankfully) has no-fault divorce. As such, regardless of whether Husband "wants" the divorce or not, he would need to prove that the marriage is "one big happy family" - probably a tough sell. The wife should schedule a consultation appointment with a NYC Divorce attorney to receive a full assessment.
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