Military life contains countless stresses, especially for California married couples trying to juggle their many responsibilities, while coping with service-related duties. Some military spouses, including those at nearby Camp Pendleton, eventually find that their marriage is no longer sustainable. However, the other spouse may not always agree. Sometimes, the resulting military divorce case will involve one spouse rejecting the idea of divorce or separation.
In the state of California, as long as one spouse wants to move forward with a divorce, the other spouse cannot simply stop or prevent the divorce by refusing to go along. California provides for the ability of either spouse, or either partner in a domestic partnership, to initiate divorce proceedings. The other spouse or partner is the respondent in a case, if that individual has been served with a summons and petition.
If the person who has been served does not reply at all, and has not previously agreed on certain divorce legal issues with their spouse, they may essentially default on the divorce case. In a true default, the respondent gives up his or her rights to participate in the divorce case. Moreover, in many default cases, the court will grant the petitioner, or the spouse who filed, what they have requested in the divorce petition. Thus, not responding at all to a divorce filing can put the non-responding spouse at a serious disadvantage.
It is understandable for spouses who do not want divorce to wish to avoid dealing with it. Nonetheless, avoiding the issue can cause more serious problems later on. Particularly for military spouses and families, a divorce can quickly become complicated or contentious. A family lawyer experienced in handling military divorce cases can guide a spouse through the process of responding to or filing for divorce, understanding the division of military benefits and learning about the Service Members Civil Relief Act that may alter how an active duty or deployed spouse may respond to a filing.