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What Happens If My Spouse Doesn’t Answer in a Divorce Case in Texas?

The divorce process can be long and arduous, even when both parties agree on it. But what happens when one spouse doesn’t want to go through the process? In some cases, the courts can force a reluctant party into court proceedings, but many times, spouses simply choose to end their marriage without ever having gone through the legal hoops.

A recent case in Texas illustrates how a husband could refuse to cooperate with his wife’s efforts to obtain a divorce. When he refused to turn other documents she needed to file her petition, she filed a motion asking the judge to compel him to do so. A hearing was held on December 12th. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge ruled that the husband had to comply with the discovery requests within 30 days. If he failed to do so, the judge warned, “I’m going to find you in contempt.”

If the husband did produce the documents, the judge would hear arguments about whether he should grant the divorce. If the judge granted the divorce, the husband would still have to pay child support and divide up the marital property. However, if the judge denied the divorce, the husband wouldn’t have to pay child support or divide up the property. Instead, he’d just walk away with everything.

But why would a man say no to getting divorced? Sometimes, it’s because he wants to punish his ex-wife. Other times, it might be because he thinks he’ll lose custody of his children. Still others believe that he can win a better settlement outside of court. Whatever the reason, refusing to divorce is often a mistake.

Divorce Issues With an Unwilling Spouse

In Texas, a divorce is actually three separate lawsuits filed simultaneously. This makes sense because there are many different issues involved in getting divorced. For example, one spouse might want to keep certain property while the other wants it gone. Or maybe both spouses want custody of their children. And each party could file for child support payments.

The fact that divorces are often drawn-out affairs doesn’t help matters either. But even though it takes longer to go through the process, most people agree that it is easier to handle once it starts.

A Texas divorce is really about three things:

Divorce – Changing you from married to single. You don’t lose anything. Your name stays the same and you retain all legal rights.

Property and debts – Who gets what no matter who’s name it is in. If you’re married, everything belongs to both of you. If you’ve been living together before marriage, you split up the assets equally.

Children – Each parent must make sure he/she provides adequate care for his/her kids. When parents can’t reach an agreement over how much money to spend on their children, the court decides.

The Days Ahead of Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse

It is often asked about how to handle an ex-spouse who refuses to accept responsibility for his/her actions. In many cases, it is not just one spouse who refuses to take responsibility; both spouses refuse to do so. If either spouse refuses to acknowledge fault or blame, there is little hope for reconciliation.

The most important thing to remember is that while you may feel guilty, your spouse does too. You both want what is best for the children. Your spouse wants to move forward and rebuild their life. They do not want to relive the pain of the past. You cannot force your spouse to change. All you can do is support them and help them heal.

If your spouse continues to deny responsibility and blames others, it may be time to consider a separation or divorce. If you decide to go ahead with the divorce, you must understand that your spouse will likely try to influence your decision. As much as possible, avoid allowing yourself to be influenced by your spouse. Do not let your spouse manipulate you into staying together because he/she feels guilty.

You are entitled to file for divorce. If your spouse objects, it is up to the court to determine whether or not you are allowed to proceed. A judge will look at the facts of the case, including whether or not the marriage was irretrievably broken. If you believe the marriage is irredeemable, you will probably prevail. Otherwise, you may need to seek advice from a family law attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

Default Judgment

If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse about how to divide your property or what type of custody arrangement you want, you might consider asking the court to grant a default judgment. A default judgment occurs when one party fails to answer or otherwise defend a lawsuit within the prescribed deadline. This leaves the opposing party free to take whatever action he or she wants without having to worry about being sued again. In fact, it can even happen automatically if no response is filed.

A default judgment does not mean that the case is over. Instead, it simply gives the plaintiff his or her requested relief. For example, if you are seeking child support payments and your ex refuses to pay, a default judgment could be entered ordering him or her to make those payments.

In some cases, a default judgment can be granted immediately. However, in most states, there is a mandatory 60-day wait period before a default judgment becomes final. During this time, the parties involved have the chance to work things out themselves or hire lawyers to help resolve the dispute. After 60 days pass, the default judgment becomes final.

The following are examples of situations where a default judgment might be appropriate:

1. Your spouse doesn’t respond to your request for a divorce;

2. You don’t receive a timely response to your petition;

3. You are unable to contact your spouse because he or she ignores your requests to communicate;


Mediation is a great way to resolve conflicts without having to go to court. This process involves sitting down with a mediator and discussing the problems you’re facing. Both parties are encouraged to express themselves freely while being respectful of each other. After listening to what both sides have to say, the mediator helps facilitate a resolution. If both parties agree to terms, the case is dismissed. Otherwise, it goes to court.


Most people think about arbitration and mediation when they hear the word “trial.” But what are the differences between the two? And how do you know which one is better for you?

The answer depends on whether you want to resolve a dispute privately or publicly. If you want to resolve a problem privately, arbitration and mediation are both great options because they allow parties to work out issues without involving lawyers or judges. These processes are typically confidential, and the decision is binding. Arbitrators make decisions based on the evidence presented during the proceedings. Mediators help parties move beyond arguments and emotions and into a neutral space where they can listen to each other and find common ground. Both types of dispute resolution require advanced preparation, however. You must provide information regarding your case and agree on terms such as fees, deadlines, confidentiality, and costs.

If you want to resolve a legal issue publicly, you may choose to go to court. This option requires an attorney and usually involves the exchange of documents, discovery, depositions, motions, and hearings.

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