In many divorces, the one thing spouses agree on is the desire to end their marriage. While this goal may increase tension, it can also ease the process. But what if you find yourself with a spouse who doesn’t want a divorce?

Can I still end the marriage?

Your spouse might want to remain married, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay together. If you’re looking to make a clean break, no-fault divorce laws can help you do so. Washington is a no-fault state, which means that neither spouse must prove misconduct when filing. These laws have helped people in untenable marriages take the action they need.

But even no-fault divorces can be contested. Contested divorces happen when spouses cannot agree on the terms of their marriage’s dissolution or their settlement. Uncontested divorces – where both parties agree on the terms – are more collaborative. Yet when only one person wants a split, this outcome becomes unlikely.

However, as the petitioner, the law will likely be on your side: In Washington, judges grant most divorce petitions so long as they follow filing procedure.

How to fight a resistant spouse

If your spouse fights or ignores your filing, you can keep these facts in mind:

  • You do not need your spouse’s permission to file for divorce.
  • Your divorce can move forward without your spouse’s agreement.
  • You can proceed with a default judgment if your spouse does not respond to your petitions.

Ending your marriage is a difficult decision, and it’s understandable if your spouse isn’t on board. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right and recourse to seek a divorce.