What Can I Do if My Spouse Contests a Divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Family Law

Ending an unfulfilling or unsafe marriage is not an easy decision to make. People rarely decide to do so without considerable thought and examination of alternatives. Thus, if you are ready to end your marriage and file for divorce, knowing that your spouse “objects” or refuses to be divorced, or blames you for the disintegration of the relationship can be enormously upsetting.

In these situations, it is essential to know that you can still divorce even if your soon-to-be-ex spouse does not want one, and without regard for who may be at fault.

Contested divorce in Minnesota

Broadly, there are two types of divorce. An uncontested divorce means the parties are willing to work together to resolve the necessary family legal matters themselves, outside of court.

Contested divorces involve parties who are both engaged in the process but disagree on at least one issue. Contested divorces generally wind up in court, requiring a judge to hear both sides of an argument and make a decision.

One important note here is that a contested divorce involves two people participating in the legal process, even if they are not in agreement. If your spouse does not even respond to the filing, you and your attorney can seek a default judgment in your favor.

No fault divorce in Minnesota

Minnesota is a “no-fault” divorce state.  You do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong to get a divorce, all that is required is that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” As a result, a spouse who wants a divorce can get a divorce, even if the other spouse wants to remain married.

No fault also means that no one is “punished” more financially in a divorce for their bad acts, such as infidelity.

What to expect throughout this process

If you anticipate some challenges from your spouse during a divorce, or if you are not sure they will even respond, it can be wise to prepare for bumps along the road.

Often, parties who do not want a divorce will attempt to stop the process by:

  • Refusing to cooperate or negotiate
  • Making false allegations
  • Trying to make the other person feel ashamed or guilty
  • Appearing to work through issues only to change their mind before finalizing the divorce
  • Taking as long as possible to respond to legal requests

These behaviors can be frustrating and upsetting for someone ready to move on to the next chapter.

If you are in this position, just know that you can still ultimately end your marriage. It may take longer and require more legal hurdles, but you can get the divorce you want when you know your rights and have help navigating the complexities of a contested divorce.