Do I Need My Spouse’s Consent for a Divorce?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How can an attorney help me with my Divorce or Separation in North Carolina?”


We live in a society in which nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Sometimes two people choose to end their marriage amicably after realizing that the marriage is no longer working. The couple then files for divorce and parts ways without a lot of drama. The divorce process turns much more contentious when one spouse is not cooperative or on board with the divorce proceedings. In North Carolina, you do not need the consent of your spouse to move forward with divorce proceedings. Only one person’s consent is required to file for divorce. While one person can move forward with a divorce, there are often other questions and concerns that can pop up during a divorce when only one spouse has consented.


breaking-chains-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Divorce-Law-firm-300x231There are many reasons that a person might file for divorce without the consent or knowledge of a spouse. If someone is afraid for his or her safety, the whereabouts of the other spouse are unknown, there are no longer lines of communication between the couple, or they want the divorce to move as quickly as possible, that could result in a one-sided divorce. There are many different types of divorce for which a couple can file, but when filing for divorce without the consent of the other spouse, it is best to file for a no-fault divorce.


No-fault divorce is just what it sounds like. The divorce that a person is filed for is not based on the fault or actions of one person. One spouse is not blaming the other spouse for something that caused the divorce. A no-fault divorce eliminates the possibility that the divorce will be contested since blame or fault is not being placed on one party.


One of the biggest questions and concerns surrounding divorce is that one party refusing to sign the divorce papers or making it impossible to serve divorce papers can prevent a divorce from happening. This is not true. Yes, not being able to serve the other spouse or a refusal to sign papers can delay divorce proceedings, but it does not eliminate any possibility of achieving a divorce. Service of process can happen through either a sheriff or registered process server. If either of those parties present themselves to your soon-to-be ex-spouse to serve the divorce papers, they are unable to refuse the service. Then, the spouse has a set number of days to respond to the petition. If you are unaware of your spouse’s whereabouts, you must show sufficient proof to a judge that there has been an effort to find him or her to serve divorce papers. If the judge decides there is enough proof of attempted service, the proceedings can continue.


If you are considering filing for divorce without your spouse’s consent, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here to help you. We know that divorce is not always amicable and cannot always be achieved easily. Our attorneys have years of experience helping individuals obtain their desired divorce with the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.





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