If you’re considering divorce in Georgia, you may be wondering what happens if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. The answer may surprise you. In most cases, you can still get divorced even if your spouse doesn’t want to sign the papers. Here’s what you need to know.

Georgia Divorce

The Georgia divorce process begins with one spouse filing a petition for divorce with the court. The other spouse must then be served with copies of the petition and a summons. The summons will have a date by which the respondent must file an answer to the petition. 

If the respondent does not file an answer by that date, the petitioner can request that the court enter a default judgment against the respondent. A default judgment means that the petitioner automatically wins the divorce case because the respondent failed to respond or participate in the proceedings. 

Courts are not eager to do this as they’ll want to ensure your spouse has had a chance to see the divorce petition. So they may require you to post a notice in the newspaper and attempt other ways of letting your spouse know about the divorce. If you do all this and they still don’t respond, then the court may proceed with your default divorce. 

The reason for these extra hoops is that a default divorce essentially removes your spouse’s right to participate in the divorce and have a say in the proceedings. Courts want to avoid this at all costs, so they’ll make you take a few extra steps. These steps, however, will not ultimately prevent you from getting your divorce. 

If your spouse is aware of the divorce proceedings but simply refuses to sign the divorce papers, then you’ll need to provide proof to the court that your spouse has received the petition and is refusing to sign. If satisfied, the judge may then proceed as though your divorce is uncontested and your spouse has actually signed the divorce papers. This will help keep your divorce on track and help you achieve your goal of ending your marriage.

Why a Spouse May Refuse To Sign Divorce Papers

There are many reasons why a spouse may refuse to sign the divorce papers. Ultimately, a court won’t keep you in a marriage you don’t want to be in, so your spouse’s refusal to sign will only delay the proceedings.

They’re Hoping You’ll Change Your Mind

If your spouse is hoping you’ll change your mind about getting a divorce, it’s important to be firm in your decision. If you give them false hope, it will only make the situation more difficult when they realize that you’re not actually going to stay married. It’s best to be honest and upfront about your decision so that everyone can move on.

They Don’t Want To Face the Reality of the Situation

For some people, signing divorce papers is just too painful because it makes the reality of the situation final. If your spouse is refusing to sign because they can’t face the reality of the divorce, try to be understanding and patient. Ultimately, though, you’ll need to move forward with the divorce whether they’re ready or not.

They Have Something To Hide

If your spouse is refusing to sign the papers because they have something to hide—such as hidden assets or income—it’s important to get help from a lawyer so that you can protect yourself financially during the divorce process. Keep in mind that if your spouse is being dishonest about their finances, it’s likely that they’ll be less than cooperative when it comes time to split up property and assets. Be prepared for a fight if this is the reason for their refusal.

They Need More Time To Think About It

Finally, some people simply need more time to think about whether they’re really ready for a divorce. If this is the case with your spouse, try giving them some space and see if they eventually come around on their own. If not, you may need to move forward with legal support.

Speak With a Lawrenceville Divorce Lawyer Today

It’s not the end of the world if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. While it can complicate matters and make things take a little longer, you can still get a divorce. But you may need some technical help. To get skilled and seasoned guidance, speak with an experienced divorce attorney today.

Contact the Divorce Lawyers at Crystal Wright Law To Get Legal Assistance Today

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to Crystal Wright Law online by visiting our contact us page.
You can also visit our law firm at 440 S. Perry Street Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.