Here’s a great article by DelanceyStreet.com, a hard money lender. The concept of divorce is not a new one, and it’s not one you consider when you get married. Your idea of getting married is staying married for the rest of your life, but sometimes things change. You were young when you got married and grew into different people. You fell out of love. Your husband turned into someone you don’t respect or love, he abuses you, he decided he did or did not want children even though you already discussed how you felt prior to marriage. There are infinite reasons your marriage didn’t work out, but there is no question that you’re getting a divorce if you don’t want to stay married.
Some couples make this decision together. You might decide things aren’t working after a fight. You realize just how often you spend yelling at one another and arguing, you find out he cheated, you cheated, you don’t love one another anymore. You can sit down and decide this is the best course of action and try to come up with a plan. It makes the entire process easier, which is a positive thing when divorce occurs. It’s already difficult enough to end a marriage without making it more difficult by fighting and making one another miserable through the divorce process.
What happens, though, if you want to end your marriage and he doesn’t? Maybe he’s still in love with you and wants to work things out. Maybe he is so mad at you he wants to make your life miserable and refuses to sign any papers just to spite you. Whatever it is, he has a right to refuse to sign the divorce papers. Before you panic, though, you should know you can still get divorced.
What happens if he won’t sign the papers?
When you file for divorce, you do so at the local Clerk of Court’s office or through your attorney who does this for you. Once the papers are filed, the court makes copies of them and sends them to your spouse with a process server. The server takes the paperwork to your spouse, who then has so many days to file a response to the motion. His response is to tell the court what he wants from the divorce, which might or might not be what you want from it on your own divorce petition.
He has so many days to respond before the court decides he’s not responding and continues to go through with the divorce proceedings based on what you want in the petition. If he refuses to show up for mediation, the judge will schedule a hearing. He must come to the hearing. It is within his right to contest the divorce time and time again by stating he’s not happy with the settlement decisions, and there is nothing you can do about that.
His refusal to sign and his incessant need to contest the divorce is not stopping, you can request the judge grants your divorce regardless. It happens in many instances when it’s obvious one party is being difficult and not giving the other the divorce they want. It might take longer, it might be more frustrating, and it might not be how you envisioned the rest of your life, but it’s entirely possible to go through with a divorce even if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers.
It’s not uncommon, but no one can force you to stay married if it’s not what you want. If your spouse really does continue to ignore the papers and refuse them, all he is doing is dragging out the process a little longer than it needs to be. You do have a chance to get divorced, and an attorney can help you with it if you’re facing problems with the man you no longer want to spend your life with.