The fear that your spouse will not co-operate with a divorce application or a resolution of your financial arrangements should not stop you from moving forward in this respect. The process is set up to allow you to progress, even if your spouse will not engage.

My spouse is ignoring my divorce application

Once your divorce application is processed by the Court, it will be served on your spouse so that they can acknowledge the proceedings. In the first instance, this service is likely to be done by post or email. If you do not know contact details for your spouse and they refuse to provide them, there are ways the Court can obtain these, such as through the Department for Work and Pensions.

If your spouse ignores the divorce correspondence or does not respond to the Court, you will need to show the Court that they have received the paperwork. This can be done through personal service (i.e., asking a Court bailiff or process server to personally hand the documents to your spouse) or by providing evidence that it has been received, for example if they have signed for a letter containing the documentation.

As long as you can evidence that your spouse has received the paperwork and has had the opportunity to respond, your divorce application can progress.

What about my finances?

Whilst it may seem easier to leave your finances unresolved, it is strongly advised that you finalise your financial arrangements at the same time as progressing the divorce. If you do not, the financial claims between you and your spouse will remain open. There is no time limit on them, so your spouse could bring a claim against you well into the future.

If your spouse does not co-operate in financial discussions, you will need to make an application to the Court. As above, you will need to show that your spouse has been given the opportunity to engage throughout the process by ensuring that they have been provided with the paperwork.

Ultimately, the Court can make assumptions about the assets held by your spouse and can make orders in the absence of information or evidence about them. The Court can also order that you are reimbursed for your costs in pursuing the application. This can include your legal costs and compensation for the time lost, for example if you have been required to take time from work.


There are ways forward even if your spouse is or threatens to be uncooperative. You should therefore not let the fear of this put you off progressing your divorce and financial arrangements.

If you have any other enquries regarding divorce applications please feel free to contact our Family Team.