Can I Still Get a Divorce If My Spouse Doesn’t Cooperate?
It is not uncommon for spouses to disagree on whether or not to proceed with a divorce. Under Minnesota law, both parties do not need to agree to move forward with a divorce in order for such a proceeding to be started and/or completed. So long as the spouse who wishes to divorce has resided in Minnesota for at least 180 days, he/she can start a divorce proceeding over the objection of his/her spouse.
One complicating factor that can arise if a spouse does not agree with the divorce, is that he/she may attempt to avoid personal service of the initial divorce paperwork or otherwise refuse to participate in the divorce proceeding.
For this reason, it may be a good idea not to inform your spouse that you have arranged personal service of the initial divorce paperwork. If he/she still manages to evade service there are a number of options, including service by publication, that will allow you to move forward.
In the event that your spouse refuses to respond to the initial divorce paperwork or participate in the divorce proceeding, the Court may allow you to proceed by default.
Courts are generally hesitant to move forward with a default unless you can show that your spouse was served with the divorce paperwork and has not responded to said paperwork in any way.
The Court will schedule a hearing and give your spouse the opportunity to appear at that hearing and prevent the default. Typically, if the non-participating party also fails to appear at the default hearing, the Court will move forward with a default. However, the Court has the discretion to schedule a second hearing as well.
The bottom line is, even if your spouse does not agree to a divorce, the Court will allow you to obtain a divorce. You may encounter some procedural hoops to jump through, but at the end of the day the Court will not force you to remain married.