Deciding to end your marriage is never easy, and to make matters all the more complicated, your spouse may disagree with the decision. They may refuse to sign the final divorce papers when this happens. In such situations, you may feel lost on how to proceed as you’re eager to transition to the next chapter of your life. Fortunately, you may be able to enter a “default divorce.” Please continue reading to learn what steps to take if your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers and how a talented Suffolk County Divorce Attorney can help you today.
Can a spouse refuse to sign divorce papers?
To obtain a divorce, the individual seeking the dissolution of marriage must file a petition with the court. Once the petition is filed, the petitioner is responsible for serving the divorce papers, also known as the Summons and Complaint, to their spouse to notify them of their intentions to terminate the marriage. Their spouse, the respondent, has 20 days to respond. This document confirms that your spouse understands and accepts the divorce. Failure to respond within this allotted time will result in the petitioner moving forward by seeking a default judgment of divorce.
When one party wants to get divorced, and the other does not, there are still ways for the divorce to proceed. The court will not keep you in a marriage when you do not want to stay, regardless of what your spouse wants. In New York, when a divorce petition is filed and served, and the respondent fails to respond by the deadline, the judge can grant a default or “no signature required” divorce. When this is the case, the court will treat the case as an uncontested divorce and continue processing the divorce. When the respondent doesn’t reply to the divorce petition, the court takes this as the respondent agrees with the divorce terms as they have not contested any of the issues set forth by the petitioner. Therefore, even if you don’t want to end your marriage, responding to the divorce petition is in your best interest.
How do I obtain a default divorce?
Before you can undergo the divorce process in the absence of your spouse, the court will require you to prove that you did your best to formally notify them that you have taken the necessary steps to initiate the divorce process and give them sufficient time to provide the court with a response. Even if you believe that your spouse will not respond, you must serve them with divorce papers. After the requisite period has been satisfied, you can proceed with the divorce process without their input. While it’s frustrating to undergo this complex legal process without your spouse’s cooperation, you can obtain a final divorce decree alone.
If your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, please don’t hesitate to contact a qualified attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help you through each phase of this process. Allow our firm to represent your interests today to ensure you can successfully move on to the next chapter of your life.