What If My Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers?

Divorce is a stressful event in any person’s life, even if it’s amicable and easily resolved. A spouse who refuses to cooperate in a divorce can make it much worse for both parties. Many people believe that refusing to sign divorce papers will stop the divorce process. As a Californian, however, you have a right to a no-fault divorce, and you do not need your spouse’s signature to obtain a divorce.

What are the types of divorce?

There are three types of divorce: uncontested, contested, and default. The term “uncontested divorce” means both parties have filed the paperwork, and agree to all issues such as property division, custody, and spousal support. “Contested divorce” means the spouses cannot agree to one or more of the aforementioned issues. The final situation is a “default divorce,” which is what can happen if one party refuses to sign the proof of service, doesn’t file a response, or has generally refused to co-operate in the divorce process. If the spouse decides to go M.I.A. after 30 days, you can begin the process to obtain a default divorce, which means the divorce goes through with only one party’s input.

Getting a Default Divorce

If your spouse refuses to sign the papers that have been served within 30 days, you then file a “default.” In the case of a simple divorce with no issues such as custody, alimony, or assets/debts, it is often possible to avoid court entirely when finalizing the divorce. Should there be issues in the divorce, a judge will make a ruling at a “default hearing,” to which the uncooperative party will not be invited. In a default divorce, your spouse has forfeited the right to negotiate the terms of your divorce.

An uncontested and amicable divorce is the ideal scenario, and there are ways to achieve that in many situations. Approach your spouse before serving divorce papers, and discuss mediation as an option to work out the issues before seeing a judge. If they seem averse to the idea of signing once served, they should know that divorce mediation offers a better chance for them to get their desired outcome on all issues. In cases where the other party remains uncooperative, it is possible to work with divorce mediators on your own, as they will help you with all aspects of filing.

Divorce Mediation

Is your spouse refusing to sign divorce papers? If you are looking for an affordable and amicable way to divorce, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center to schedule your consultation today!

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