Every divorce is different, and many spouses go into the process unaware of what they can expect from the other spouse.
It is very common for one spouse to try to prevent the divorce from happening, ultimately ignoring it or refusing to sign divorce papers.
You may be wondering, What happens if one spouse refuses to sign divorce papers? The Larson Law Office is here to answer your questions.
Does My Spouse Have to Sign The Divorce Papers for the Divorce to Go Through?
Short answer: no, your spouse does not have to sign the divorce papers for your divorce to be finalized. In Texas, one spouse refusing to sign divorce papers does not completely stop a divorce from proceeding.
If one spouse is seeking a divorce, they can still achieve it whether or not the other spouse cooperates and signs the papers.
What If My Spouse Doesn’t Respond to the Divorce Petition?
Once you file your petition with the court to begin your divorce, you will need to serve your spouse with a copy. If your spouse ignores the petition and does not respond, your spouse will “default.”
You can proceed to file an affidavit with the court proving you served your spouse and they failed to respond. Once this is presented to a judge, they can make decisions on essential divorce details without your spouse, including child support and alimony.
Common Reasons a Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers
Spouses refusing to sign divorce papers is very common. In many instances, spouses believe not signing the papers will affect the divorce. In reality, a divorce can still be finalized without cooperation from the other spouse.
The Spouse Is in Denial
Unfortunately, sometimes one spouse is in denial about the divorce. Divorces can be very challenging and stressful, and one spouse may not want to go through with it.
However, just because one of the spouses is in denial does not mean the divorce won’t go through.
The Spouse Believes They Can Prevent the Divorce from Happening
While many believe simply not signing the papers will prevent divorce from happening, this is completely false.
The court can still finalize your divorce whether the other spouse cooperates and signs or not. In fact, by ignoring divorce documents, a person risks losing a say in the terms of the divorce.
The Spouse Does Not Agree with the Terms of the Divorce
In many cases, the other spouse refuses to sign divorce papers because they disagree with the terms set forth.
If this is your situation, you will likely need to take your case before a judge to resolve it. It is best to discuss details with a knowledgeable Texas divorce attorney and understand your options.
Legal Options When Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers in Texas
Once your spouse decides they are not going to cooperate, your divorce is considered a “contested divorce.” While it can be extremely trying to experience the divorce process with an unwilling spouse, there are legal options. The best one for you may depend on your specific situation.
First and foremost, if your spouse won’t sign divorce papers or respond to your petition, your divorce attorney can ask the court to enter a default judgment against your spouse.
It is important to note that, in Texas, you must go through a mandatory 60-day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized.
If you ask for default judgment, the judge will decide on the issues in your divorce and issue a judgment once the waiting period has expired.
Mediation can be a fantastic option for spouses not seeing eye to eye. During mediation, both parties sit down with a mediator—a neutral third party.
The mediator facilitates discussion between the spouses in hopes of resolving the issues at hand and reaching an amicable agreement. If both parties can reach an agreement, the divorce will not have to go to court.
While most couples try to avoid trial, in some cases it is necessary. A trial can be costly and time-consuming, but depending on your situation, it may be the best course of action.
Let a Qualified Texas Divorce Attorney Help You
The Larson Law Office has had the pleasure of assisting many clients in the Houston, Texas area. When clients seek help from our firm, they can feel confident knowing our skilled attorneys have the knowledge and experience required to handle their cases.
Our firm and attorneys are recognized for their hard work and dedication to our clients. We offer complimentary case reviews. Contact us today and let’s discuss your case.