What Can You Do If Your Spouse Is Not Interested in a Divorce?

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What Can You Do If Your Spouse Is Not Interested in a Divorce?


What Can You Do If Your Spouse Is Not Interested in a Divorce? The decision to end a relationship can surely be one of the most traumatic and emotion

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What Can You Do If Your Spouse Is Not Interested in a Divorce?

The decision to end a relationship can surely be one of the most traumatic and emotional experiences in one’s life. Whatever the reason for the split—the breakup can turn your whole world upside down and trigger all sorts of painful and unsettling emotions, especially if your spouse is not willing for the divorce. Yes, it’s bad enough that you have to think of a divorce, but, when your spouse refuses to acknowledge or participate in your divorce, moving on becomes infinitely more difficult.

What makes it worse is that not only do you have the burden of doing all the work in your divorce yourself, but you have to deal with the added guilt of looking like “the bad person” while your spouse portrays themselves as the innocent victim. 

They may have tons of reasons to not comply with the process, it could be because they are not ready to accept the fact that the relationship is over or may even believe that getting divorced conflicts with their spiritual beliefs, ideology, etc. 

Hence, if your spouse has refused to sign the divorce papers, you might be panicking and wondering if you can still get a divorce or if you’re stuck in the marriage because of their actions. The good news is that under Canadian laws, you don’t need to get your spouse’s consent to get a divorce. Getting your spouse to sign the divorce papers will likely make the process simpler, but if that’s not possible, there are still other alternatives.

But first, the most essential thing that you can do is try to understand the reasons for your spouse refusing to sign. 

Why Is Your Spouse Not Willing To Sign The Divorce Papers?

Is your spouse trying to implement this refusal as leverage to force you to give up certain assets or custody of your children? In some cases, people believe that if they refuse to sign the divorce it would give them the upper hand and make their spouse desperate.

Hence, thinking that it will give them more power over their spouse so that they can make demands and their spouse will have to make sacrifices in order to move the divorce along. But this is not the case and it does not give the unwilling spouse superiority. The best thing that you can do in such a situation is not to act desperate or agree to demands but rather talk to your attorney about how to proceed and do accordingly.

Another reason why spouses refuse to sign divorce papers is that they believe that their denial will make the divorce process much more difficult for the other person. Yes, such behaviors are not at all shocking because a breakup can bring out the worst in people, and some may want to see their spouse suffer one last time. But even if they refuse to sign, as mentioned earlier, you can still go ahead with the divorce process.

According to Canadian law, you don’t need to get your spouse’s consent; this means you don’t have to prove that one spouse has done something wrong that led to the divorce. 

Rather, you can state that you believe the marriage is irreparable and resume with the complete divorce process. You can discuss with your attorney and move ahead by filing a petition for Dissolution of Marriage. For this, you do not need the spouse’s signature and once the filing is complete, the paperwork will be provided to your spouse by a process server. Your spouse will then have a few days or a couple of weeks to file a response with the court.

At this point, it will be in their best interest to eventually respond to your filing; if they still do not respond within the allocated time frame, then the court will consider it as an uncontested divorce.

If your spouse does not file a response, the judge will have to file a default hearing on your uncontested divorce. You have to attend the hearing and request for the divorce; the court will proceed to question you about subjects regarding asset division and child custody.

If your spouse has still refused to respond or come forward, then the court will typically grant the reasonable requests of whichever spouse has appeared at the default hearing.


Some Other Ways You Can Get a Divorce, Even If Your Spouse Is Not Interested

Prove the breakdown of the marriage

If you can prove the reason why you need a divorce from your spouse, such as because of adultery, emotional distress, or physical/mental torture then you may be granted a divorce.


You can’t locate your spouse

If you want to send your spouse the divorce papers but If you’re unable to locate where he/she is, then, you need to show the court you have attempted to find your spouse but could not locate them. If you are able to prove to the court that you’ve done everything to find your spouse but were unsuccessful then the court will grant you a divorce.


Uncontested Divorce

If you file for a divorce and your spouse does not respond to it within the time limit for responding. Then you may ask the court to grant a divorce, based on the fact that the other person had the opportunity to oppose it but did not. 


Contested Divorce

If your spouse disagrees on some or all the issues raised, then, he/she is given a chance to dispute the allegations the applicant has made, or make claims of his/her own. The court will decide on such contested divorces and provide an appropriate response.



There is no doubt that going through a divorce, especially with an unsupportive spouse can be a stressful and emotionally draining experience. Therefore, you should convince the court that you’ve tried everything to notify your spouse about the divorce and that the marriage is unsalvageable moving forward, which means you’ll be able to get divorced without their consent. To make the entire process less complicated, it would be best to hire a family lawyer in Brampton and move ahead based on their suggestions.