How can I get a divorce when my spouse doesn’t want to?

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How can I get a divorce when my spouse doesn’t want to?

Things have become very bad between us. I’ve been out of work for a while and cannot afford an attorney. I also do not have a place for my daughter and I to live. I’ve tried leaving before and only returned because I didn’t have anywhere else to stay. He refuses to leave our home. He says he won’t divorce me. Due to this I have become increasingly depressed and suicidal. I don’t know what to do; I cannot live this way.

Asked on September 19, 2017 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can get a divorce even if your husband doesn't want one. First, you'll need to serve a divorce complaint on him. Once he is so served with it, he will have a period of time in which to "answer" your complaint. If he fails to do so within the required period of time (it depends just what state you are in), you can proceed with what is known as a "default divorce". This is a divorce that is granted in the absence of one of the parties; it is generally granted on the terms requested. Further, you can file for a divorce yourself; there are online for every state and most have reduced filing fees, etc. in a situation such as yours. However, while you can file yourself, since children are involved you really should have legal representation. You can contact Legal Aid and see if you qualify for representation; if not see if they can recommend another organization to help you. Also, you can check to see if there is a law school nearby to where you live as many run free/low cost clinics that handles divorce cases. Finally, you can contact the local bar association in your city/county since most have lists of attorneys who will take these cases "pro bono" (for free) or for reduced fees based on your income.


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