July 02, 2015
What do you do if you want to end your marriage but your spouse refuses to sign the papers? You’ve gone through the entire process and followed every necessary step to complete the separation. You have an agreement in place and you are ready to move on. However, your spouse refuses to sign the papers to officially end the marriage. So what can you do? Are you stuck in an unhappy marriage forever, or will the court allow you to proceed with the divorce?
This can be a very frustrating situation to be in, but it does happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, even when both parties want to move on and end their marriage one or both spouses still chooses to make things difficult. Often times this can simply occur because of spite or hurt feelings. Regardless of the reason, an uncooperative spouse can make the process drag on if he or she refuses to sign the necessary paperwork. However, you should know that no matter what measures your spouse takes to prevent the divorce, he or she cannot legally stop it from happening, even though he/she can make it take longer and cost more.
In some cases, a judge will allow the divorce to move forward as an “uncontested divorce.” An uncontested divorce is where the parties agree to everything. In other instances, the cooperative spouse can obtain what’s called a “default divorce.” An uncontested divorce is usually the most common resolution. This occurs when both parties have already filed the necessary paperwork and they have agreed on all the important issues that need to be resolved, like child custody, spousal support and property division. If these agreements are in place, then you can bring the agreement before the court where a judge will review it, hand down an order and grant the divorce.
A default divorce occurs when one party goes through the proper steps and serves the other spouse with divorce papers, but that spouse refuses to respond. If you have done your part and your spouse refuses to respond then you can file a default request and ask the court to issue a judgment. Typically, the court will order a hearing and if your spouse refuses to appear then the judge is likely to grant the divorce petition according to the terms you have spelled out, without your spouse having any say in the matter.
If you are in the middle of divorce and your spouse is not cooperating, then you should seek the help of an experienced Chicago divorce attorney as soon as you can. At the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group, we know how to guide you through the divorce process, whether your spouse cooperates or not. If you need help with divorce in Chicago, then you can reach us online by clicking here, or give us a call at 312-445-8830.
This should only be considered as general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should always contact an attorney to decide what is best for you in your particular case and circumstances.