Can Your Spouse Refuse a Divorce in California?

Can Your Spouse Refuse a Divorce in California?

Can Your Spouse Refuse a Divorce in California?Anyone involved in a divorce knows that it is a sensitive, emotional experience that can easily take a toll on you and your family. While sometimes separating spouses can be amicable, there are other cases where relationships have become so broken that no compromises can be made. If your spouse is refusing to cooperate, such as ignoring the divorce papers they were served, there are still options available for you.

In the event that one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers or does not provide a response, the divorce can still proceed. A San Diego family law attorney can help you move forward with a default divorce today.

Understanding Default Divorces in California

A default divorce can happen when the non-filing spouse does not provide any response to the petitioning spouse. Generally speaking, the non-filing spouse has 30 days to respond once they receive copies of the divorce paperwork. If the spouse does not respond within thirty days, it can be legally assumed that they do not intend to participate in the divorce. When this occurs, the filing spouse can request a default divorce from the family court in their county.

Once the default divorce is requested, the non-respondent spouse is again issued default divorce paperwork. They will be given another 30-day window to respond. If the spouse still refuses to respond, the judge will most likely favor the petitioning spouse and continue the divorce proceedings without the non-responsive party. When a spouse is non-responsive, they ultimately lose their right to make any decisions in your divorce.

What Is a Contested Divorce in California?

When a divorce is contested, this means that both parties are unable to reach agreements on the varying terms of their divorce. Generally, a divorce becomes contested once the responding spouse submits their response and disagrees with any terms set by the filing spouse. Disagreements often arise over child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support. In order to resolve these disagreements, the case will have to go through divorce litigation.

If a divorce is contested, it will generally take longer to resolve due to constant court dates and negotiations. Ultimately, if the spouses cannot agree on a settlement, the court will have to make a decision for them. This is why it is vital that you have the right family law attorney on your side to ensure your voice is heard and advocated for.

Finalizing Your Divorce


Q: Can Adultery Affect Divorce in California?

A: Petitioning spouses do not have to prove that the other spouse was unfaithful because California is a no-fault state. Because of this, divorce can be granted without evidence of adultery. However, if there was adultery in the marriage, it could lead to financial implications on the divorce settlement. The financial consequences of adultery can impact the amount of alimony awarded, how the assets are divided, child support, and even attorney’s fees.

Q: What Happens If Your Spouse Doesn’t Respond to Divorce Papers in California?

A: If one spouse is served divorce papers, they are given 30 days to respond. If a written response is not received in 30 days, the petitioning spouse has the legal right to request to schedule a default divorce and inquiry hearing. A copy of the default paperwork and inquiry hearing will be sent to the non-responsive spouse, informing them of the hearing. If the spouse continues to be unresponsive, the judge will continue on without them.

Q: Do Both Parties Have to Agree to a Divorce in California?

A: Both parties do not have to agree to a divorce under California law. If you file for a divorce and the other spouse does not respond within 30 days, then you can request a default divorce. A default divorce allows the court to decide the outcome of your case without the non-responsive spouse’s input. California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that spouses do not need the permission of the court or consent from the other to file and obtain a divorce.

Q: How Quickly Can a Divorce Be Finalized in California?

A: In most cases, if both parties agree to the divorce, then the process can be completed in as little as six months. Under California state law, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period. This waiting period is enforced to allow spouses time to reconcile their differences potentially. It should also be noted that if spouses do not agree to the divorce or if one spouse is being difficult, then it could lead to complications.

Q: Does California Require Legal Separation Before Divorce?

A: Although some states do require legal separation before spouses can divorce, that is not the case in California. There is no legal separation period requirement under California law. This means that a spouse can make the decision to divorce and then file for divorce on the same day. However, it should be noted that it is not uncommon for spouses to decide to legally separate before they file for divorce. This is because there is a six-month waiting period requirement.

Bickford Blado & Botros: California’s Family Lawyers

Navigating a California divorce is overwhelming, stressful, and sometimes chaotic. When you’re involved in a divorce, whether amicable or not, it’s critical that you work with an attorney who can protect your rights and assets throughout your case. Additionally, divorce cases can become even more complex when children are involved. No matter what kind of divorce you may be going through, we implore you to seek out our reliable family law services here in California.

At Bickford Blado & Botros, our legal team can provide you with the resources, guidance, and advice you need to get through a complex divorce. We know that ending a marriage is difficult and are prepared to offer you compassionate support throughout the entire process. With years of experience and comprehensive insight shared between our skilled lawyers, you can trust that our legal time can fight for your rights and protect your interests in a divorce.

Contact a team member at Bickford Blado & Botros to schedule a consultation and discuss your divorce today.



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