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Do you have to tell your spouse you want to divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2022 | Divorce

You may have heard that your spouse doesn’t have to agree with you in order to get a divorce. They can say that they don’t want one and they can even ignore the divorce proceedings. You can still get divorced through a default divorce.

But this may have led you to wonder if you need to tell your spouse at all. If they can ignore you and you can still carry on with the legal proceedings, does that suggest that you could just quietly file for divorce without alerting them? Maybe you think the conversation is going to be difficult or awkward, and you’d rather just avoid it. 

You have to break the bad news to them at some point

Technically speaking, you do not have to tell your spouse that you want to divorce. Instead, you could file for divorce and they will be served the divorce papers. If you don’t want to serve them these papers yourself, you can have someone else do it.

But this means that the papers are essentially going to tell your spouse that you’ve already filed for divorce. They can’t be kept in the dark, because they have a chance to respond to the divorce petition and work through this process with you. They deserve to be informed so that they can react appropriately. 

Generally, people rarely just file for divorce without telling their spouse or at least having a conversation first. The big exception to this is if it’s a situation where abuse has occurred or where they are estranged from their spouse.

As you move closer to the end of your marriage, take the time to carefully look into the legal steps that are necessary.