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What happens if your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | Blog, Divorce

If you are ready to end your marriage, you may be looking forward to a speedy and low-stress divorce. Your spouse, unfortunately, may have different ideas. That is, if your husband or wife wants to remain in the marriage, he or she may be looking for ways to drag out the process or stop your divorce altogether.

While there certainly are advantages to seeking a collaborative divorce and negotiating a fair settlement, there are ways to end a marriage without full cooperation from both spouses.

Reasons not to sign divorce papers

Uncooperative spouses during divorce proceedings are probably more common than you think. If your spouse refuses to sign divorce-related paperwork, he or she may be doing so for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To try to reconcile with you
  • To abuse you emotionally
  • To avoid legal expenses
  • To minimize social stigma
  • To hide marital wealth

Your path forward

If your soon-to-be ex-spouse refuses to respond to your divorce filing within 30 days, a judge may classify your divorce as uncontested. This means the court may be able to proceed without your spouse’s participation. If a judge orders a hearing on the matter, your spouse’s failure to appear may result in a final divorce order in his or her absence.

Some other considerations

It may be beneficial to you to have your spouse’s active participation at the end of your marriage. If you believe your husband or wife is persuadable, you may want to explore options for encouraging his or her cooperation. These may include counseling or mediation.

Ultimately, if you are ready to call it quits, you may want to think about how long you are willing to put up with your spouse’s stall tactics.