Traditionally, the decision to divorce has often been portrayed as a mutual agreement between two spouses. However, life is rarely so simple. Many marriages experience conflicts, differences and evolving circumstances that can make reaching a unanimous decision challenging.
Emotions play a significant role in any relationship. Suppose one spouse wants a divorce while the other does not; the emotional dynamics become even more intricate. Feelings of guilt, sadness, anger and confusion can overwhelm both parties involved. So, what happens when your spouse doesn’t respond to the divorce petition?
The legal requirements for divorce
Before filing for divorce in California, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. At least one of you should have lived in the state for six months and in the county where you plan to file for at least three months.
You should also know that California is a no-fault divorce state. The most common ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences,” indicating that your marriage cannot be saved.
The importance of a response
When you initiate divorce proceedings in the state, you serve your spouse with legal documents outlining your intent to divorce. Your spouse is then given a specific period to respond to the petition. Their response can impact the direction your divorce takes.
In cases where your spouse doesn’t respond within the stipulated time frame, you are likely to encounter a default divorce, which occurs when your spouse fails to respond at all. This might be due to various reasons, such as negligence, unawareness or deliberate avoidance of the divorce process.
The process can become more complex if your spouse eventually responds but contests the divorce. In this case, preparing for potential disputes over property, child custody and support is essential.
Navigating a divorce when your spouse doesn’t respond can be a complex and emotional journey. However, with the support of legal counsel, you can successfully conclude your divorce proceedings.