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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What Happens If Your Spouse Refuses To Sign The Divorce Papers?

What Happens If Your Spouse Refuses To Sign The Divorce Papers?


By the time some couples get to divorce court, they have both known for a long time that they wanted to get a divorce.  They may just need to work out the details of their property division or parenting plan in mediation.  Some couples even agree to all the terms of the divorce before they set foot in the courtroom.  Divorce lawyers get more phone calls and emails from new clients on the first business Monday of the year than any other day, and family courts receive the most divorce petitions on this day.  Most of the participants in Divorce Monday are not filing for divorce on a whim; the ones that did file for divorce simply because their spouses’ annoying behavior got on their last nerve in the midst of a New Year’s hangover will probably withdraw their divorce petitions, anyway.  On the other hand, some people file for divorce even while their spouse refuses to admit that the marriage is over.  The courts of Alabama can still dissolve your marriage even if your spouse is too stubborn or too clueless to participate in the divorce proceedings.  In other words, it always takes two spouses to get married, but it does not always take two spouses to get divorced.  Sometimes all it takes is one spouse and a Birmingham divorce lawyer.

The Court Cannot Force You to Stay Married to Your Spouse

Uncontested divorce is the most painless kind of divorce, but it represents only a small fraction of divorce cases.  In an uncontested divorce, both spouses sign the same divorce petition, in which they have agreed to all matters of property division and, in the rare event that couples with minor children get an uncontested divorce, parenting time.  The court simply verifies the couple’s finances and then signs off on the divorce.  An uncontested divorce requires the signatures of both parties on the same petition, which is only the final step in a long process of collaboration.

Most divorce cases are contested.  This means that one spouse files a petition outlining her requests for property division and parenting time, and then the other spouse files a response outlining his requests.  The parties then go to mediation and, if necessary, trial, before the court dissolves the marriage.

If you file a divorce petition but your spouse does not file a response, your divorce case can still go through.  You must wait 30 days to give your spouse a chance to file a response.  If your spouse does not respond by the deadline, you can request a default divorce judgment.  The court will schedule a hearing, and if your spouse does not attend, the court will dissolve your marriage and grant all the requests in your divorce petition.

Contact Peeples Law About Default Divorce

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you if your uncooperative spouse refuses to respond to your divorce petition.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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