It takes two people to agree to a marriage and to make a marital relationship work. If both of you do not remain fully committed, then there may be major issues that arise later in your relationship. However, it only takes one person to effectively end a marriage.
While you may be the one who intends to file for divorce, you may feel very strongly that your ex is the one who ended your marriage. Whether they abused you, lied to you repeatedly or cheated on you, you might believe that the only way forward in your life is to move on from your unhappy and failed marriage.
Unfortunately, those facing divorce sometimes do not want to accept reality, especially if they feel subconsciously responsible for the situation. Some people try to avoid divorce by stonewalling or refusing to respond to their spouse’s filing. Will you wind up trapped in a miserable marriage if your ex won’t respond when you serve them with divorce paperwork?
Ignoring your paperwork puts your ex at a disadvantage
Just like both of you have to consent to get married, both of you must remain committed to the marriage for the relationship to continue. Your spouse cannot force you to stay married by ignoring your divorce filing or convincing the courts that they want to stay married despite your wishes.
Even if they passive-aggressively refuse to respond to the paperwork when you serve them, you can still move forward with the divorce despite their lack of a response. Typically, the spouse served with paperwork has 90 days to respond. If they fail to do so, the spouse who filed paperwork with the courts can then file a Motion for Default.
At that point, you can potentially secure all of the terms that matter most to you, from specific property division outcomes to your requested division of parental authority.
A divorce by default can be a simple solution
Although it can be a stressful experience waiting for your ex to stop ignoring you and respond to your divorce filing, a divorce by default is the opposite of stressful. You won’t have to worry about litigation, as everything will become mostly technical at that point.
A judge will review and approve your divorce, even if your ex continues ignoring you and the courts. They don’t ever have to show up in court for a judge to grant you a divorce.
Understanding how divorces happen in Washington will help you take control and move on with your life.