Do both parties need to agree to a divorce?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do both parties need to agree to a divorce?

My boyfriend left his wife and moved in with me. We were having an affair while he was living with his wife. She now refuses to give him a divorce and will not let him see his kids unless he sees them at her moms house. She wont let him take the kids anywhere. Is she able to do this? He does not have a lawyer and doesn’t know how to go about seeking legal advice.

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Family Law, Hawaii


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

He can  file for a divorce himself; there are on-line forms for this. However, since custody issues are involved, your boyfriend should have legal representation. If money is an issue, check to see if he qualifies for representation by legal aid or see if there is a law school clinic nearby which are free/low cost. Also, he can contact the county/state bar association which may have a list of attorneys who will take his case for a reduced fee. And he should be aware that even if his wife will not cooperate in getting a divorce, he can get one anyway. It is called a "default divorce". At this point, again, he should either check about all of this online or consult directly with a divorce attorney. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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