Divorce is a tough time for all the parties involved, especially if one spouse wasn’t expecting to be served with divorce papers. Often couples find this process stressful and emotional, and they can lash out at one another when resolving contentious issues. Sometimes, some spouses refuse to accept the situation entirely. Unfortunately, if one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers to prevent the divorce from happening, this can delay the process. In this article, we will answer common questions about signing divorce papers, such as what happens if you don’t sign divorce papers and what happens if your spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement.
What Happens If You Don’t Sign the Divorce Papers?
Divorce are often contentious, even those desired by both parties. And if one spouse doesn’t want to dissolve the marriage or is trying to avoid divorce, the process may take longer than expected. Some resisting parties can make the divorce process more stressful by refusing to sign the divorce papers or by not responding to a request for a divorce. Other spouses make the divorce process difficult by hiding or avoiding “service,” that’s in-person delivery of the divorce paperwork.
How a family court judge treats such situations depends on the state you live in: some states allow the divorce process to proceed “uncontested,” while other states, including Colorado, allow the petitioning spouse to get a “default divorce.”
If your spouse served you the divorce petition properly and you filed an uncontested response, but you refuse to sign off the final divorce papers, family law courts in some states may allow the divorce case to proceed as if it’s uncontested. A court appearance date will be assigned, and if you don’t show up in court on that date, the family court judge will treat the case as though it’s uncontested and enter orders based on the divorce petition and your response.
Alternatively, if your spouse served you properly, and you refuse to file a written response on time, some states will allow your spouse to file a request to enter a default divorce. Typically, if you don’t respond to the divorce petition within 30 days, your spouse may file a request to enter a default divorce along with the proposed judgment. Also, this might be the case if you can’t be located for service.
The family law court will set a hearing date and ask you to appear in court. During the hearing, the judge might rule based on what is stated in the divorce petition or based on what your spouse has proved to the court. Then, the judge will issue the divorce order and judgments. By failing to sign divorce papers or appear in court, you give up the right to have any say in the divorce proceeding or final judgment.
If you have filed for divorce and your spouse is uncooperative, speak with an experienced divorce lawyer to learn about the possibility of pursuing a default divorce case.
What Happens If My Wife Won’t Sign a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a written contract that spouses enter to resolve some or all family law matters arising from their marital separation. This may be a simple agreement that determines the spouses’ date of separation, or it might deal with complex issues, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and/or distribution of marital property and debts.
In Colorado, there’s no law that requires spouses to sign a separation agreement. Thus, if your spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement, you can’t force or coerce them to.
However, if your spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement, it’s advisable to consult an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you seek orders to make sure your separation remains effective. You need not worry because there’s no time limit that one should be separated. Besides, you may choose to remain separated and never file for divorce. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you take the following steps:
- Your divorce lawyer could send your spouse a demand letter stating that if she doesn’t sign the separation agreement, you’ll start a claim to seek relief. This is more favorable than having a settlement. Also, your lawyer could file an Affidavit of service as proof that your spouse received the legal notice.
- Set a time limit for your spouse to respond to the legal notice.
- Set all the items that need to be agreed upon by the use of the separation agreement.
- If your spouse still refuses to sign the agreement, your attorney can help you file an application in court. A family court judge will then make the decision and make an order.
Do I Need to Consult a Family Law Lawyer Before I Sign Divorce Papers?
It’s always a great idea to have a divorce lawyer review the divorce documents before you sign them. If you don’t have a lot of marital assets and debts to divide and you and your spouse agree on all divorce terms, and the marital settlement agreement makes sense to you, you can choose to use your own judgment. However, it doesn’t cost much to have an experienced divorce lawyer review the paperwork for you, so seek legal advice to be on the safe side. At Brighter Day Law, we offer a free initial consultation. For a free case review, call our Colorado Springs office today at (719) 225-4443.
Should I Sign Divorce Papers If I Don’t Agree with the Divorce Terms?
You don’t have to sign divorce documents agreeing to anything. However, you must respond to the divorce petition once it’s filed to contest the divorce. Also, you can go to court and ask the judge to decide your divorce case.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Experienced Divorce Attorneys for Legal Advice!
At Brighter Day Law, we have decades of experience dealing with divorce, alimony, spousal maintenance, child custody, child support, and other family law matters. If you wish to hire a Colorado family law attorney to help you with your divorce petition or filing a response, call our Colorado law office today at (719) 225-4443, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.