My spouse won’t agree to divorce. Now what? Many times, couples both agree that the marriage is over. But sometimes, one person is ready to end the marriage and the other is not. This situation can be very difficult to work through, and can create a very stressful and emotionally complicated time. It is important to know that in Arizona, dissolution of marriage may be granted even when one person did not agree to the divorce. There are a few steps you can take to ensure a satisfactory resolution.

File Paperwork

One party begins the divorce procedure by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the courts. Once filed, your spouse must be served with divorce papers. Your spouse then has 20 days to respond if served within Arizona, and 30 days to respond if served outside the state. If your spouse does not respond within the allotted time period, you may apply for a default divorce. Once a default request is filed, your spouse has 10 days to respond. If no response is made, the divorce may proceed after the 60-day statutory “cooling off” period  expires.

Cooling Off Period

In Arizona, the law provides a cooling off period. This is a 60 day period that is designed to ensure that the couples have time to cool down and take some time to review their decision. This 60-day period is required regardless of whether both parties agree to divorce. Both spouses can use the time to reconsider and determine if they want to proceed with the divorce.

Conciliation Meeting

When one spouse was served with the dissolution of marriage petition, but does not agree to a divorce, he or she may request a conciliation meeting offered as a program of the Court. The conciliation meeting is done through the court and must take place within 60 days. All action to finalize a divorce will be put on a “stay” pending the outcome of the conciliation meeting.  If the meeting is successful, the couple may decide to put the divorce on hold. If so, the divorce will not go further. If the couple does not agree to a postponement, the divorce will continue forward after the meeting is concluded.

Covenant Marriage

If the parties have a Covenant Marriage, a spouse’s unwillingness to divorce may trigger the application of “fault” rules of divorce.  In other words, the spouse who wants the divorce will have to prove something like adultery, abuse, or lengthy separation in order to proceed with divorce over the other spouse’s objection.

Meet with an Attorney

When one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t, the situation can be complicated. It is advisable to work with an experienced divorce attorney throughout the process. Your lawyer will guide you through the process necessary to resolve the issues and achieve a divorce. You will learn all of your available options and the proper filings, and responses will be made in order to get a divorce with as little difficulty as possible.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding My Spouse Won’t Agree to Divorce. Now What?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Jonathan D. Brooks at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.