Can You Get Divorced Without Your Spouse’s Consent in Tampa, Florida?
Even if you and your spouse both agree that it is time to end your marriage, divorce is an extremely difficult thing for anyone to go through. However, when you want to get a divorce and your spouse does not, it can bring additional challenges. Fortunately, it is possible to get a divorce without your spouse’s consent in Florida. Below, one of our Tampa divorce attorneys explains more.
No-Fault Divorce in Florida
No one can force you to remain married to someone in Florida and proceedings do not require that both parties agree to a divorce. If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers or otherwise cooperate, you can still file a petition for divorce with the court. You must only allege that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
There are many reasons people do not sign divorce papers, which really means do not cooperate with obtaining a divorce, and each presents their own unique challenges. For example, your spouse may simply be trying to delay proceedings by not doing what is necessary to proceed, because he or she may want to try and make the marriage work or is being spiteful. Or, you may not be able to locate your spouse. In these cases when moving forward with your case, you will need to follow special procedures to obtain a divorce.
Obtaining a Default Divorce in Florida
After you file the initial petition with the court, you must personally serve the divorce papers to your spouse by process server. He or she then has 20 days to respond after the date of service. In his or her response, he or she can reply to anything you asked for in the initial petition and state whether he or she agrees or does not agree to it. If your spouse does not file a response within the twenty days time period, you can move forward and ask the court to grant you a default. If you are granted a default, you would proceed to a default final hearing.
With a default divorce, a judge can grant your request in the original petition without the involvement of your spouse. Your spouse will also forfeit any right to future notice of legal proceedings in the case. However, this is more complicated if there are children or property involved and you would be benefitted by the advice of counsel.
Obtaining a Divorce by Publication in Florida
Some people cannot obtain their spouse’s consent to a divorce, because they do not know where that person is living. People may physically separate for many months or years before starting the divorce process and over time, a spouse may move to a different city or state.
In these instances, you can serve notice of the divorce by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. Sometimes, you may have to publish notices in several newspapers. Before obtaining a divorce by publication, you must make every effort possible to locate your spouse and do what is known as a diligent search. You will not have to do it yourself as you can hire an investigative firm to do it for you. Our Tampa divorce attorney can advise you of the necessary steps which must be completed prior to obtaining a divorce by publication.
Our Tampa Divorce Attorneys Can Advise of the Steps to Take in a Default Divorce
If you want to get a divorce but cannot locate your spouse or obtain their consent, our Tampa divorce attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A., can advise on the necessary steps to take. Call us now at 813-672-1900 or contact us online to request a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you move forward with your proceedings.