What if a Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers?

divorce decree

A spouse can actually refuse to sign the divorce papers they are served with. That doesn’t mean that they can put a complete stop to the process though. You are allowed to file for the dissolution of your marriage in Illinois even if your partner does not consent to it. So if your spouse won’t sign papers, your Morton divorce lawyer will help you figure out how to proceed.

How Long Does a Spouse Have to Respond to Divorce Papers?

When someone receives divorce papers, they have 30 days to respond to the petition. A spouse can decide to ignore the papers and not sign them. That does not stop the process though. Instead, the person who filed for divorce and sent the papers can simply file a motion for a default.

What Happens When a Spouse Won’t Sign Papers or Respond?

When one spouse motions for a default, they are telling the court that they want to continue on with the divorce process even though their partner is not participating in the process. The court will actually give a spouse one more chance to make their case. The judge can schedule a hearing and hear the reason for their refusal to cooperate and sign divorce papers.

Sometimes people show up to these hearings and make their case for why the divorce should not go on. However, if the uncooperative partner does not show up for the hearing they have basically given up their opportunity to have input on this process. The court is likely to render a default judgment.

What Does a Default Judgment Mean?

A default judgment or default divorce is basically going to give the person who filed for divorce everything that they wanted. When you file for divorce, you also tell the court if you think that you should receive alimony, how property should be divided, and if you should have primary custody of your children. You can make all of these arguments on your own behalf, and a spouse has the right to come in and make their own arguments.

When your spouse does not participate in the process, they do not get to contest your arguments. So you are probably going to get what you ask for, within reason.

Do I Still Need a Divorce Attorney?

It can seem like this process gets simplified quite quickly when one partner will not sign papers or participate in the process, and that is true to some extent. However, even if you are not participating in a lot of stressful litigation, having a divorce attorney of your own can be beneficial. We can tell you more about how this process works, handle paperwork for you, and make sure that you do not miss important deadlines.

Talk to a Family Lawyer

So contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. today. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about how our attorneys can help you through this process.

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