Divorces can be unpredictable with even the most amicable of divorces turning contentious at times. And if one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, or tries some other method to postpone your divorce, the process can turn downright frustrating. So, what do you do then if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers? What are your options? Today, we go over what steps you can take in the event your spouse refuses to sign the divorce decree.
Does My Spouse Need to Sign the Divorce Papers for it To Be Finalized?
Your spouse does not need to sign the divorce papers for a divorce decree to be finalized. You cannot stop a divorce just by refusing to sign the papers. If one individual is pursuing a divorce, he/she will get this granted whether the other individual signs the papers or not. If this happens, you should know your divorce will become a contested divorce at this point.
Steps to Take if Your Spouse Is Unwilling to Get Divorced
If one individual wants to get divorced, the other party cannot stop a divorce from happening. Here are some options to try if your spouse will not accept the divorce:
Request to enter a default judgement
If your spouse decides to ignore your petition to get divorced, you can ask your divorce attorney to request that the court enter a default judgement. What this means is that you can have the court pass your petition after a certain period. In Texas, divorces can be finalized after 60 days from the date of filing the original petition for divorce. If your spouse will not sign the papers or respond to your petition, you can have a judge issue a judgement after this 60-day waiting period is over.
Resolve your issues through meditation
If you think you and your spouse could resolve these issues through mediation, that is also an option. Perhaps your spouse is in denial about the divorce and needs to talk it out before agreeing to it. Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution that helps you and your spouse navigate your divorce issues with the help of a neutral third party.
Go to trial
If your spouse still will not sign the divorce papers after mediation, you could also choose to go to trial. This is the most expensive and time-consuming way to finalize a divorce. It is recommended to consult with an experienced divorce attorney before doing so. During the trial, the judge will resolve all the issues in your divorce, including the division of martial assets and property, child custody, child support, and spousal support/alimony.
At the hearing, the judge will issue a ruling based on what is stated in your divorce petition and then issue your divorce orders and judgements. If your spouse fails to respond or appear on this date, he/she gives up the right to have any say in the divorce proceeding.
If you filed for divorce and are dealing with an uncooperative spouse, consult with an experienced divorce lawyer at our firm by contacting us online or calling (512) 768-9737 to discuss your options.