Let’s face it, divorce can be emotionally trying and taxing. Things can get even more difficult if your spouse is uncooperative. If you have made up your mind to file for divorce, you are probably looking to break free from a broken marriage and make a fresh start in life.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a spouse to refuse. Many dig in their heels instead of working toward a mutually agreeable divorce. Such a refusal can leave you confused, angry and desperate to move things along. If you find yourself in this situation, here is what you need to know about the divorce process.
Why won’t your spouse sign the divorce papers?
Sometimes, a spouse may refuse to sign the papers thinking this will give them control over you, and that you might yield to their demands. In this situation, you should not give in. Instead, talk to your attorney. Your spouse’s signature is not always necessary. Declining to sign the papers will not give them any advantage.
What does refusal to sign mean for your divorce?
You can still get a divorce if your spouse refuses your terms. However, the process might change a little. Your options depend on whether your spouse responded within the allotted time period:
- If your spouse refused your terms but still filed an answer to your request, you can ask for a preliminary conference. This is your chance to get a judge involved and move the case forward.
- If your spouse did not file an answer, you can contact the court. In this case, your spouse has “defaulted,” and the court clerk can assign a judge to your case. The judge will either enter a judgment or hold an inquest (a “mini-trial”) to resolve any concerns about your children or your assets.
While you might wish your spouse would simply agree to your divorce request, disagreements are common. There’s a reason that divorcing couples work with attorneys to protect their rights, involvement in their children’s lives and interests in the marital estate.
Delays are often part of the process
The good news is that your spouse cannot simply refuse to let you pursue a new life. Once you file your divorce request, the process moves forward. Your spouse’s actions may slow the process and cause you new frustration, but you can get through this frustration by focusing on your goals and working toward them.