Thankfully, many divorcing couples are on the same page about wanting 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. 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 North Carolina divorces, the first step after filing the Complaint for Absolute Divorce is that the respondent must be formally served with a copy of the Complaint. In many amicable divorces, the person who files the Complaint (petitioner) can simply give their spouse (the respondent) a copy as an alternative to being personally served with the divorce papers by a sheriff or private process server.
If the respondent refuses to cooperate, however, he or she will have to be personally served. If the respondent goes out of their way to evade service, the petitioner will likely have to use a private process server, who will request additional information about the respondent’s schedule and whereabouts before tracking them down. This option is more expensive than having the sheriff do the service, but has a better chance 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 petitioner will have to request a final hearing to obtain a Final Decree of Divorce. As long as the respondent is properly notified of the hearing date, the court can grant the divorce, even if the respondent chooses not to attend.