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Can I refuse a divorce in Missouri?

Can I refuse a divorce in Missouri?Divorce can be a difficult and emotionally draining legal process, especially if one spouse is unwilling to sign or recognize the divorce papers. Many people wrongly feel that ignoring the matter will prolong or postpone the divorce process.

Divorce is a difficult time in one’s life, and it’s made even more painful when the choice to terminate the marriage is not yours.

Can you refuse to sign or acknowledge a divorce petition?

One of you may disagree that your marriage is irretrievably broken under Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.320.2. Next, the court must decide if the marriage is irreparably ended and either go ahead with the divorce or dismiss the divorce petition. Usually, the spouse who filed is prepared to speak about why they don’t want to stay married in this case.

What happens if I refuse a divorce in MO?

The divorce procedure might take longer than necessary if one spouse refuses to agree on how to dissolve the marriage. There are times when a spouse tries to complicate the divorce process by refusing to sign the divorce papers, failing to reply to a divorce request or even attempting to avoid being served with divorce papers.

Ignoring the petitioner’s divorce filing may cause the procedure to take longer, but it will not prevent it from being completed. The judge’s approach will be based on how the respondent behaves after being served. If their spouse refuses to consent to the divorce, petitioners in Missouri may find “default” divorces beneficial.

Seeking a Default Divorce in MO

The respondent usually has 30 days to answer after the initial divorce petition has been served. This response indicates that the respondent intends to participate actively in the divorce proceedings. It also allows the respondent to raise objections to any of the divorce petition’s requests, including but not limited to property distribution, child custody, parenting time, and financial support options.

If the respondent does not answer within 30 days, the petitioner has the legal right to request a “default and inquiry” and to schedule a hearing. Before the trial, a copy of the default and inquiry hearing must be sent to the respondent, advising them of the hearing’s date, time, and venue.

If the respondent disregards the petition, the family court judge might issue a default judgment, which means the petitioner’s requested terms will be granted. It also implies that the respondent will lose their right to dispute the conditions of the divorce, and the divorce will proceed regardless of the respondent’s efforts to prevent it.

What if I do not want the divorce?

Even if you don’t want a divorce and disagree that your marriage is beyond repair, your spouse can nonetheless get a divorce. They must demonstrate one of the following:

  • That you committed adultery and your spouse is no longer able to live with you;
  • That your undesirable behavior has made your spouse unable to live with you;
  • That you abandoned your spouse for a period of at least six months prior to the filing of divorce;
  • That you and your spouse agreed to live separately for at least 12 months before the divorce was filed; 
  • That you and your spouse must have lived apart for at least 24 months before filing for divorce. 

If the court does not determine that the marriage is irretrievably broken and allows a legal separation, either party may file a motion to change the Judgment of Legal Separation (legal separation) into a Judgment of Dissolution (divorce) no later than 90 days from the date that the court granted the legal separation judgment.

So, can I refuse a divorce in MO? The best answer is that as long as one of you testifies that your marriage is hopelessly unrecoverable, you will get divorced.

Consult an experienced Missouri divorce attorney

If you’re thinking about getting divorced, Shea Kohl Law, LC can help. Let us know about your circumstance, and we’ll assist you in making the best decisions possible.

Call (636) 946-9999 or send us an email using our online contact form for a private consultation.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.