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Can Your Husband or Wife Stop You From Divorcing?

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Nov 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Thankfully, many divorcing couples are on the same page about their desire to get a divorce. The fights or problems communicating have been obvious to both parties for a while, and the decision to divorce was a long time coming. While it is unfortunate that the marriage is ending, the parties can take some comfort that they are working together to resolve the issues in their case amicably.

However, there are times when the parties aren't in such perfect agreement. Sometimes one spouse wants the divorce and the other spouse does not. Other times one spouse is caught by surprise, unaware that there were ever any issues. In these situations, the spouse who does not want the divorce may stall or refuse to do anything to keep the divorce moving toward a resolution. This can be extremely frustrating for the person seeking the divorce because it means more time and money spent on the process.

In all South Carolina divorces, the first step after filing the Complaint for Divorce is that the other person (called the Defendant or Respondent) must be formally served with a copy of it. In many amicable divorces, the person who files the Complaint (called the Plaintiff or Petitioner) can simply have their spouse sign an Acceptance of Service as an alternative to being personally served with the divorce papers by a sheriff or private process server.

If the Defendant refuses to cooperate, however, he or she will have to be personally served. If the Defendant goes out of his/her way to evade service, the Plaintiff will likely have to use a private process server, who will request additional information about the Defendant's schedule and whereabouts before tracking them down. This option is more expensive than having the sheriff do the service, but it has a much higher rate of success.

If your spouse desperately does not want the divorce, they may refuse to attend mediation sessions or a settlement conference. If that's the case, the Plaintiff will have to request a final hearing to obtain a Final Decree of Divorce. As long as the Defendant is properly notified of the hearing date, the court can grant the divorce, even if the other party chooses not to attend.

Unfortunately, an uncooperative spouse can slow the process down, which will result in more time and money spent by everyone involved. Though the process may be grueling, the good news is that your spouse will not be able to prevent a divorce from ultimately taking place.

About the Author

J. Benjamin Stevens

Senior Partner


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