What Can I Do If My Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers?

Divorce is often an emotional time for the people involved, and these emotions can sometimes turn to frustration if one party does not fully cooperate. While the initial decision to divorce might have been mutual, it is common for one party to retract this statement and refuse to sign the divorce papers.

Although this can add extra stress and difficulty to the situation, there are multiple ways to divorce without the written signature of the uncooperative partner.  Below, we lay out the steps you should take to start the divorce process without the participation or permission of your partner.

Understand you do not need your partner’s consent

Although a consensual or uncontested divorce can be a more natural process, you have the right to file alone for a divorce in the court that has jurisdiction over your marriage. The initial petition for divorce does not have to be signed by both parties.

Determine the grounds for your divorce

Many states have the option for a no-fault divorce, although it could go by another name in certain areas. If you want to gain a benefit from separation, such as sole child custody, spousal support, or a large property settlement, you may need to pursue a fault-based divorce depending on the circumstances. Speaking with a divorce attorney could help you understand the specifics of a no-fault or fault-based divorce and the requirements for each type.

Serve the divorce papers

If your partner ignores divorce paperwork or is hiding from the parties meant to serve those papers to them, the court has the power to move the proceedings along. If your spouse refuses to attend court, refuses to file a response to the divorce petition, or refuses to participate in the process promptly, the court can enter a default judgment that grants your divorce.

Go to Court

If your spouse refuses to cooperate with the divorce process after you begin the case, the court would have no other choice but to hold a trial to address any issues within your case. Instead of allowing you and your partner to work out problems regarding matters like property division or child support on your own, the judge on your case would decide everything based on state law and guidelines. Although this may not work out in your best interest, remember that your end goal is your desired divorce from your partner.

The Importance of Professional Legal Advice

A divorce can be a complicated and emotionally charged situation. With any legal case, it can be in your best interest to contact a lawyer to understand your rights and chart the best path forward in your legal battle.

The compassionate divorce attorneys at Moskowitz Law Group understand that divorce is complicated, especially with an uncooperative partner. Obtaining proper counsel can help simplify the process for you and facilitate a more positive and desirable outcome.

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