Typically, a divorce happens after one spouse files the paperwork and serves it to the other spouse. That person then responds to the filing, and the two enter into divorce negotiations or divorce litigation. In the end, the court either makes a decision or signs off on the decision made in mediation, and the marriage ends. 

A default divorce is when one key step does not happen: Your spouse does not respond. You do file the paperwork, and you do serve it to them. They just ignore it. Maybe they throw it away or refuse to take it. Maybe they do take it and they just never respond. Regardless, you may feel like you’re stuck. You need them to respond to keep moving forward. 

But you don’t. While they do get some time to respond, their response is not necessary. Once the allotted time has passed and it’s clear that they are not going to do anything, the court can just enter the default divorce on your behalf. This means you are still divorced, even if your spouse never acknowledged it and never came to court. 

Remember, in modern America, you are never trapped in a marriage. If you want to end it, you have the right to do so. You just have to follow the proper steps. There is nothing that your spouse can do to force you to stay married, even if they are able to make it more difficult for you. When the dust settles, your wish to end the marriage will prevail. 

If you are looking into divorce, make sure you are well aware of the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. An attorney can help you understand exactly what you should do at every turn.