The question ‘What if my spouse won’t sign the Divorce papers?’ is often asked, but few understand what it means! When a Divorce is begun, the petitioner will file a petition. However, this is not the start date of the Divorce! The Divorce begins on the date of service. ‘Service’ is a formal notification that a Divorce has been filed. When the parties are cooperative the ‘proof of service’ can be mailed to the respondent and he/she would sign & date it. However when the parties are not cooperative and the respondent (the one who is being served) will not sign the ‘proof of service’ then there is a solution–simply arrange for another adult (not a child of the marriage) to serve the spouse. When this is done, the spouse does not have to do anything at all and the Divorce can still proceed through the courts.

The following people can serve your spouse:

  • sheriff
  • process server
  • other adult over 18 years of age (not a child of the marriage)

The respondent can be served either at home or at work or at another location. If the person is not served after 3 attempts, there may be an option to ‘sub-serve’ which means that the ‘proof of service’ documents may be given to another adult at the home or place of work.

Once a ‘proof of service’ is filed with the court, the respondent will have 30 days to ‘respond’. If a response is filed then the parties are in a contested Divorce. When this occurs, the parties can still agree on their issues and avoid a court appearance. If they cannot agree, a trial is usually necessary in order to finalize the Divorce. However, if a response is not filed then the Divorce will proceed by ‘default’. A default Divorce with issues will require a court appearance but a default Divorce without issues usually does not. It’s best to speak with an Experienced Divorce Attorney to determine the best approach for your particular circumstance.

When you have issues with an uncooperative spouse–there are solutions! For quick help call Legal Action Workshop @ 1-800-HELP-444 or visit our website for more information .

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