What if My Spouse Won't Grant Me a Divorce?

Over the course of your life, you’ve probably heard someone on TV or in the movies say something to the effect of, “My husband (or wife) says they’ll never give me a divorce!” Or, perhaps you’ve heard someone you know say it. Maybe your own husband or wife is telling you that they will never divorce you. Guess what? It’s not up to them.

If you’re a California resident, you’ll benefit by the state’s no-fault divorce law. In fact, California is the first state in the United States to grant no-fault divorces. Under California law, you don’t need your spouse’s approval or even participation to get divorced. If he or she refuses to participate in the process, the court will grant you a default judgement.

“Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case,” according to California Courts. So, if your husband or wife is saying they’ll never give you a divorce, realize that they must not be well-versed in the law.

As a no-fault divorce state, you can ask for a divorce and you do not need to prove that your spouse did anything wrong; for example, you do not have to “prove” to the court that he or she cheated on you, physically or emotionally abused you or your children, or abandoned you. To obtain a no-fault divorce, all you have to do is say that you cannot get along with your spouse. The legal term for this is “irreconcilable differences.”

My Spouse Says I Won’t Get the Kids

“My spouse said to me, ‘You’ll NEVER get the kids!’” Okay, this happens a lot. An angry or bitter spouse makes threats about child custody. Part of the time, spouses believe their threats are real but again, it’s NOT up to them. If your husband or wife has told you that if you divorce him or her, you will not get the kids, understand that they do not have the authority to make such decisions on their own – not in the United States.

Ideally, divorcing parents will reach an agreement about child custody on their own. If they cannot agree, usually they’ll be required to complete child custody mediation. If the parents still cannot agree on child custody, the mediator will issue a recommendation to the parents and to the court. From there, it’s up to the judge to decide, not one of the parents.

If one parent has committed domestic violence against his or her spouse or the children and it can be proven, the innocent spouse will likely receive primary physical custody of the children. In such cases, the abusive parent can be ordered to move out of the family home, pay certain bills, and pay child support and spousal support.

We hope this information has helped you. If you anticipate a custody battle ahead or just need divorce representation, contact our San Fernando divorce firm today.