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My Spouse Won't Sign the Divorce Papers. What Can I Do?

Divorce is rarely easy for anyone, but what can really drag out the process is a reluctant spouse. Not everyone expects to be served with the divorce papers, and some react to this unpleasant surprise by attempting to deny it’s happening at all. Some people even think that by refusing to acknowledge the divorce is happening, they can prevent their spouse from leaving. However frustrating this might be as the spouse who filed for divorce, you are not without further options.

The easiest type of divorce is an uncontested divorce, meaning both spouses agree to all matters concerning the divorce, including separation of property and spousal support. They typically both file the paperwork with the court, and a judge will check to ensure the parenting agreement and child support amount is in the best interests of the child and meets state guidelines before approving the process.

If your spouse doesn’t want the divorce to happen, they can make the process more difficult; however, there is no way for them to stop it. Even if your husband or wife refuses to sign the divorce papers, you can file the correct paperwork with the court and a judge will usually approve your divorce if you’ve taken all measures to try and get your spouse to participate.

You must serve your spouse properly according to state law, and your spouse will have a certain amount of time to file a written response. If he or she fails to do so, you can submit a request to enter a default. A default happens when one spouse has been served and fails to respond within 30 days of being served. It can also happen if the spouse cannot be located.

The request will be filed with a proposed judgment. The court will set a hearing date and ask that you appear. At the hearing, the judge can issue a ruling based entirely on your divorce petition and issue your divorce orders and judgment. The judge may also alter the divorce if your proposal is not in the best interests of your child (if you have one with your spouse) and in line with state guidelines. If your spouse fails to appear or respond, your spouse has waived the right to have any say in the divorce proceeding or court decisions.

If you need help filing for divorce, talk to one of our skilled Illinois divorce lawyers at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. Our attorneys focus exclusively on family law matters and have been helping people through both straightforward and complex divorces for years. We understand the process can often be complicated and emotionally hard on the family, so we do our best to make your interactions with us as easy and smooth as possible. We can offer you the personal attention and experience you deserve in a skilled family law firm. Let us discuss your case with you in a free telephone consultation.

Call us or fill out our online form with information about your situation to speak to one of our experienced lawyers.


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