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What Should I Do If My Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers?

Posted On November 22, 2021 In Divorce

Not all spouses are willing to agree to a divorce. This does not mean you cannot proceed without their consent or signature. The following offers an overview of divorce without spousal consent in Arizona.

However, every divorce case is different. If your spouse is uncooperative and will not sign final divorce documents, seek the advice of an experienced Chandler divorce attorney to learn your next steps.

You Do Not Need Spousal Consent to File for a Divorce

The initial paperwork filed in a divorce does not require a spouse’s signature. However, any final resolutions or agreements submitted at the end of the divorce case typically need both spouses’ signatures.

The initial paperwork in an Arizona divorce includes the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and any corresponding documents. If a spouse does not sign an acceptance of service upon receipt of these documents from the filing spouse, then the filing spouse must serve the documents in a way that does not require voluntary acceptance.

This is usually through a licensed process server.

After the Initial Divorce Documents are Served

After the initial divorce documents are served by process served or signed for by the other spouse, the divorce may continue with or without the other spouse’s cooperation. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, and if the marriage is a non-covenant marriage, no grounds for divorce need to be proven to proceed.

The other spouse will have a statutory time period during which they may respond to the divorce Petition. If they fail to do so, the filing spouse may move ahead with a default divorce. A default divorce provides all the relief of a regular divorce, including:

  • Asset and debt division;
  • Spousal support;
  • Child custody and visitation; and
  • Child support.

Covenant Marriages and Annulments

If the marriage is a covenant marriage, there are specific circumstances under which a divorce can be granted without spousal consent. Separate laws apply to annulments.

Both of these are unique situations where the advice of an experienced Arizona divorce attorney is an invaluable asset and should be sought before any filing.

Tips for When Your Spouse Refuses to Sign

When your spouse refuses to sign or move forward with a divorce, there are some tips and strategies you can use to handle the stress.

These include:

  • Hiring an experienced attorney to ensure your documents are filed correctly and are properly served on your spouse. This will save you time and frustration. You will not have to re-do any paperwork or deal with your spouse alleging they were not served;
  • Try mediation. Mediators help spouses reach agreements on sensitive issues and avoid courtroom litigation. If your spouse will sit down and work with a neutral third party, this is an option; and
  • Do not blame your spouse. Arizona does not require spouses to allege fault in a divorce proceeding. Keeping fault out of your divorce can minimize tension and hostility and aid in cooperation.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Arizona

If you filed for divorce in Arizona and your spouse is uncooperative, or you fear they will refuse to cooperate with the divorce process, speak to an experienced Arizona divorce attorney at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC. Our skilled attorneys will review your circumstances, answer your questions, and advise you on proceeding with your divorce matter.

Contact Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, online or by phone to schedule an appointment. Let us provide you with honest and practical divorce advice you can depend on.