Question: What if my spouse does not want an uncontested divorce?
Most couples would prefer an uncontested divorce because it is less expensive and far less time consuming. However, in this situation, the answer is fairly simple. You can’t get an uncontested divorce both sides agree to get an uncontested divorce.
In my practice, this comes up in two ways.
The first way is that one spouse believes that the couple has no assets or debts to divide and proposes that they each keep what they have and pay their own debts. Even if you assume that this type of division is exactly what the judge would do after a trial, you can’t have an uncontested divorce unless the other spouse agrees with your proposed division of the assets and debts.
The reasonableness and fairness of your settlement offer does not require the other side to accept it.
The other way this comes up is that the other side won’t negotiate at all. This could be that they don’t want a divorce so they will not cooperate or it could be that they don’t want to agree to anything because they don’t trust that you are being fair and they don’t trust their ability to know what is unfair.
In this situation, you can’t get an uncontested divorce because at this stage you can’t force the other side to negotiate. Eventually you can force them to negotiate by attending a court ordered mediation that is part of a contested case.
If you are in the situation where you want an uncontested divorce and your spouse does not, you have three choices.
The first choice is to simply wait. Perhaps the other side will change their mind if given enough time.
The second choice is to explain to the other side that their refusal to even negotiate will cause a contested case that will cost them more money and time.
The third choice is to ask the other party to consult with a lawyer. Sometimes people have unrealistic demands that they will drop once they find that they are unrealistic and would be expensive to pursue. Even if their demands are realistic, they will discover what the cost of the litigation would be.