When you file for divorce, you’ll need to create a petition outlining the terms of the dissolution of the marriage to file with the courts. Additionally, you’ll need to serve your spouse the divorce papers officially. Once your spouse gets these papers, they can sign and return them by agreeing to the terms or counter with alternative terms. However, when your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers or even respond to them, understanding your options is critical. The following blog explores what you should do if this resembles your circumstances and how a Somerset County divorce attorney can assist you through these challenging times.
What Is the Typical Timeline for Serving Papers?
Once you file the petition with the court, you will have six months to serve your spouse with the papers. The server must be someone over 18 who is not directly involved in the divorce. When you serve a spouse with divorce papers, it’s essential to understand how much time they have to respond. In most instances, they will have 35 days to respond to the petition.
However, this 35-day period extends if your spouse is in the military or incarcerated. Generally, they will have an extended period to respond.
What Happens if My Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers?
If your spouse does not respond to divorce papers, you can petition the courts for a default judgment. However, you must request this judgment up to 60 days after the last date they had to respond to the initial papers. When you request the default judgment, the court may ask you to appear in court for a hearing, especially if you and your spouse do not have a signed martial agreement. If you do not, you’ll need to serve your spouse with an additional notice informing them of the date of the hearing. This must be sent with at least 20 days’ notice.
If your spouse still does not appear in court, the judge will likely grant you a default judgment, which essentially grants you the terms and conditions you included in the divorce petition. In the event your spouse does appear, the judge may give them the chance to explain why they did not respond.
As you can see, there are many considerations, petitions, and deadlines that must be met to file for a divorce and handle a spouse who refuses to cooperate. Because this can be overwhelming, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney to help you through these challenging times.
At the Siragusa Law Firm, we understand how stressful it can be when your spouse won’t respond to the divorce papers. That’s why our team is here to handle all the deadlines to ensure you achieve the best deal possible. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through these matters.