In many divorces, both spouses agree that the marriage is over. The divorce won’t be granted until there is an agreement or a court resolution of the related divorce issues such as property division, alimony, custody, and child support. But what can you do if only one half of the couple is ready to end the marriage?
Some reasons one spouse may want a divorce and the other does not include:
- There are children and one spouse thinks it would be best for the kids if they stayed married
- One spouse wants to stay married for financial considerations
- One spouse is still in love, and wants to make it work
The truth is, both spouses don’t have to want a divorce, in order to end the marriage. While it would almost certainly be less contentious if both of you are onboard, there are ways to get a divorce even if your spouse does not want one.
First, understand that you can still file the paperwork without your spouse’s consent – but you will have to initiate it. In this scenario, a no-fault divorce will be impossible, because only one of you is agreeing to end the marriage. As such, you’re going to need to file for fault grounds. This can include:
- Attempted murder
- Being sentenced to prison
- Causing a spouse to suffer indignities so great that living with him/her is intolerable
- Conviction of a crime of infamy
- Excessive cruelty
- Habitual drug/alcohol abuse
- Living in separate residences for two (or more) continuous years
- Pregnancy from a man who is not the husband
- Refusal to move to another state with the spouse
Once the paperwork is filed, it will be served to your spouse. Your spouse cannot refuse to be served. For example, let’s say a process server shows up and the door, and your spouse simply refuses to answer when the server knocks. Has your spouse been officially served? Under the law, yes – he or she has been.
After that, your spouse will have 30 days to respond to the complaint. If he or she does not, you can request that then judge grant you a divorce by default.
I can’t find my spouse; can I still get divorced?
Yes, you can still get a divorce if you cannot locate your spouse. First, you will have to fill out an “Affidavit of Diligent Search,” to prove that you made an honest effort to find him or her. If you still cannot find your spouse, you can file a Motion for Service of Process by Publication. Essentially, this is like asking permission to publish a summons, asking your spouse to come forward and respond. The summons has to run for 28 days, and your spouse has 30 days from the final date of publication to respond. If he or she does not, you can request a divorce by default.
Most divorces in Tennessee are granted because both spouses agree to the divorce. If your spouse won’t agree to ending the marriage, the Knoxville divorce lawyers at LaFevor & Slaughter can help. We’ll explain your rights and file complaints for divorce if there are grounds. We’ll recommend counselors who can help you speak with your spouse. For help with all aspects of a divorce, please call us at 865-637-6258 or complete our contact form. We represent spouse who reside in Knoxville and the neighboring areas.
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Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.
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