Many people think that the spouse has to sign a document in order to get divorced. However, a signature from the spouse is not necessary.
In a divorce, the petitioner (the one who files for divorce) files and then arranges for service. The court requires a ‘proof of service’ which is simply a formal notification that a divorce has been filed.
The spouse can be served by mail (if the spouse is cooperative) or by another adult (not a child of the marriage), process server or sheriff. When the spouse is served by another person, the spouse does not need to sign anything. The person who serves signs the necessary paperwork needed i.e. the ‘proof of service’ which allows the divorce to proceed without the signature of the spouse.
Most people are confused by the ‘service’ portion of the divorce. They may think that if the spouse refuses to sign the ‘proof of service’ then the divorce cannot proceed. As stated above, if the spouse is served by another adult, the spouse’s signature is not needed.
Once the spouse is served then he/she has 30 days to respond. If a response is not filed in the court within the 30 day time period then the petitioner can enter a default. In essence, the divorce will be finalized by default whether or not the spouse is cooperative.
However, if the spouse files a response with the court then the divorce is contested and it can be finalized by agreeing on all issues (stipulation) or by going to trial.
At Legal Action Workshop, we have experienced divorce attorneys ready to assist you throughout the process. We help serve people throughout California, from Los Angeles County to San Diego and all the way up to Sacramento. We offer free consultations in our local office in Glendale or by phone.