Written by attorney Charles R. Hofheimer

Getting a Divorce Without Your Spouse's Consent

Ending a marriage is emotionally difficult, but it can also be challenging in many practical ways. If you're considering divorce in Virginia, you should become familiar with Virginia family law and the divorce process.

A couple usually decides to divorce when their marriage has broken down irreparably. There are many reasons for divorce, like infidelity, fighting about money, abuse, or general incompatibility. Whatever the reason, the choice to end the marriage and move on is not always a mutual one; sometimes one spouse desires a divorce while the other spouse does not.

When a Spouse Won't Consent To Divorce

There can be many reasons when a spouse won’t consent to divorce. Some common scenarios include:

· The “One more chance" argument: It can be a painful experience when your partner is begging or negotiating for the marriage to continue, but if you genuinely feel that it's over, you should follow your logic and instincts. One spouse may be fully convinced that the marriage is beyond all repair, but the other partner feels certain that the relationship needs another chance and won't agree to the split.

· The “Stand-off" argument: Sometimes, a spouse will purposely refuse to cooperate with the divorce because he or she wants to be stubborn and make life more difficult for the other party. This may seem like a waste of time, because in actuality, the person being stubborn is harming only their self and delaying their ability to move on.

· The “MIA" Argument: This is abandonment, where a spouse leaves the marital home with no intention of returning. He or she may not leave forwarding contact information or may simply ignore the divorce papers when they arrive.

To get a divorce in Virginia without your spouse's consent, you first file for divorce at your local courthouse as normally would. The divorce papers will be sent to your spouse and it is up to her/him to respond within the limited time period. If your spouse doesn't respond, you can ask the court to bar objections to the divorce. This way if your spouse eventually does respond with an objection, the divorce will most likely go forward anyway.

If your spouse cannot be located, Virginia family law usually requires that notice of the divorce be published in a local periodical before the divorce process can go forward.

You should have a knowledgeable divorce attorney on your side that can help explain the process and advise you regarding how things like child custody and division of property will be sorted out.

Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney

A Virginia divorce attorney at Hofheimer/Ferrebee can examine the specifics of your case to help you move forward if your spouse objects to a divorce. Request a free copy of our divorce book for women in Virginia, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.

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