What Happens if My Spouse Does Not Sign the Divorce Papers?

You are currently viewing What Happens if My Spouse Does Not Sign the Divorce Papers?
partial view of lawyer and client sitting at table with divorce decree and wedding rings

You’ve finally worked up the courage to file for divorce. You’ve gone through couples counseling, you’ve spoken with your spouse, and you realize it’s best to go your separate ways. You meet with an attorney, you discuss your options, and you decide that divorce is the right option. Your attorney drafts a Complaint and sends a letter to your spouse stating that you are filing for divorce. But your spouse refuses to respond. Now what?

You may be getting worried that because your spouse won’t sign, the divorce won’t go through. However, this is untrue. Depending on which state you live in, the divorce process is handled differently. Even if your spouse refuses to sign, you can still obtain a divorce by either a default judgment or through an uncontested divorce.

Default Judgment

In some states, if your spouse does not respond within 30 days, you may file a petition requesting a default judgment. The judge will likely hold a hearing where you and your attorney appear at the court. You will discuss your divorce petition and the judge may grant the divorce without your spouse ever attending court.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce occurs when your spouse is cooperative in the beginning of the divorce process. If you’ve gone through mediation and your spouse signs the original agreement that goes over custody, alimony, etc, however, will not sign the divorce papers, the judge may hold an uncontested hearing.

If your spouse does not show up to the hearing, the judge may grant the divorce. The judge will likely enter the order based on the signed agreements. Nonetheless, it’s important to discuss these options with your attorney to determine the best course of action to take.