What to Do When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce (But You Don’t)

August 24, 2018
By Clifford Petroske
If you are going through a marital separation in New York, you are certainly not alone. According to Statista, the annual divorce rate in New York is approximately 2.7 per 1000 residents. That means there are nearly 60,000 divorces in the state each year. While going through a divorce is always challenging, it is especially difficult if your spouse wants to separate but you want to stay together. In this circumstance, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer immediately.  

From a legal perspective, there is technically no way to stop a divorce in New York. Either spouse has the right to obtain a divorce without cooperation from the other and even over the fierce objections of their spouse. Of course, that does not mean that there is no way to save your marriage. You may still be able to work things out with your partner through cooperation and marital counseling.  However, if your spouse is pushing for a divorce, you need to take action to protect your rights:

New York Allows for No-Fault Divorce

Under New York state law (DRL §170.7), it is possible to obtain a no-fault divorce. The only grounds that a divorce petitioner needs to prove to obtain a no-fault divorce is that their marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’. One spouse’s testimony is sufficient to satisfy these grounds. If your partner wants to push for a divorce and they will not budge from that position, you have no legal authority to stop it.

You Should Never Ignore Divorce Papers

In New York, your partner must serve you with divorce papers. What happens if you simply ignore the divorce papers? Your spouse can get an Affidavit of Service from the process server or an Affidavit of Attempted Service from a New York state court. In either event, dodging the divorce papers is not an effective tactic to stop the divorce. If your spouse makes a good faith effort to serve papers and you refuse to accept them, the divorce process will simply move forward without you, oftentimes resulting in default summary judgements that will only hurt you.

If divorce papers have been served on you, you have 20 days to respond. If you do not respond, a default judgment will eventually be entered against you. It will not save your marriage and you will end up with a worse result in the divorce proceedings. Whether you still want to try to work your marriage out, or you want to protect your financial interests or parental rights, you need to be involved in the process. You should sit down with a divorce lawyer and your spouse and begin working towards the best possible resolution.

Contact Our Long Island Divorce Attorneys Today

At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, P.C., our top-rated Long Island divorce lawyers treat every case with the personal attention and an individualized approach that it deserves. To get immediate legal guidance, please contact our legal team today. With an office in Hauppauge, NY, we represent clients throughout Long Island, including in Nassau County and Suffolk County.