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How a Lawyer Can Help If Your Wife Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers

March 26, 2014

Divorce, even when both parties are in agreement that they want to end the marriage, is always a difficult and trying time. There are lawyers to be hired, assets to list and divide, and if children are involved, things get even more complicated. The emotional current runs deep through the proceedings and signing of paperwork. A divorce can be made even more trying when your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. They may ignore attempts to communicate with them, go into hiding, or simply refuse to sign and return the necessary paperwork. This is one of those situations where it is imperative that you find competent and experienced legal aid. You may think there’s nothing you can do if your spouse won’t sign the divorce papers. You may fear that you will be trapped in the marriage. There are, however, ways that a lawyer can help you through the case.

Uncontested Divorce

If your divorce originally started as an uncontested divorce, meaning both parties involved agree on all the issues related to the divorce, then you may think the battle half won. In these cases, everything surrounding the divorce including any alimony, custody, or property division issues, has been agreed upon by both spouses. However, sometimes, as the case progresses, one spouse refuses to sign the final paperwork, turning a relatively simple case into something a bit more complicated. Depending on where you live, your case will be assigned a court date and if your spouse fails to appear, even if they did not sign off on the final papers, it’s possible that your judge might proceed with the case as an uncontested divorce. By failing to appear in court, your spouse, in effect, gives up their chance to have any say in how the proceedings conclude. You will want to make sure that your lawyer is experienced in cases like yours so that they will best know how to work through any delay or trouble the failure of your spouse to sign the paperwork might cause.

In an entirely different situation, you might find yourself facing a spouse who simply refuses to go forward with a divorce from the very start. For example, you may have served them the divorce papers, but never heard from them. They might refuse to communicate and effectively disappear. Once again, you will want to ensure that you hire proper and capable help. In this case, you will want to hire a lawyer who has experience with default situations. If you do not get a response from your spouse within 30 days of serving them with the divorce papers, you may petition the court to enter a state of default. This means that, if your case is approved, the judge will set a date for you to appear in court. Assuming you still have not heard from your spouse in this time, the judge may proceed with the case, basing all of the case on your paperwork and your side of the story. An experienced lawyer can make all the difference in this kind of case and can help you dissolve your marriage, even if your spouse does not sign the divorce papers.