What do you do when you want a divorce but your spouse won’t sign divorce papers? How do you deal with a reluctant spouse?
Here are a few practical tips to keep you from tearing your hair out!
RESOURCES AND LINKS:
So what do you do if your spouse refuses to sign your divorce papers?
Today, let’s talk about what you can do your spouse won’t sign your divorce papers … and it’s driving you crazy!
As frustrating as it is, unfortunately, it happens all the time.
Step #1: Identify the problem. Is your spouse refusing to participate in your divorce at all? Or has your spouse actually participated in the divorce up to a certain point, but then just won’t sign off on the final paperwork? Those are two different problems. So step #1 is identifying which one of those problems you’ve got.
Step #2: Figure out your spouse’s motivation (… as best you can!). In other words, WHY won’t your spouse sign papers or participate in your divorce? There can be a lot of different reasons for their behavior. Understanding your spouse’s motivation will help you deal with his/her behavior better.
Step #3: Understand the timing of your problem. It makes a big difference whether your spouse is dragging his or her feet at the beginning of your divorce or at the end of it. WHEN the problem occurs can tell you a lot about what the problem is, and what your spouse’s real motivation may be.
Let’s talk about some examples.
Let’s say your spouse just totally refuses to participate in your divorce? Once you identify that as the problem, you go to step number two and ask yourself WHY won’t they participate? While you’re asking that, be aware of where you are in the divorce process. ((Step #3)
If you just your spouse that you want to divorce last week – or yesterday! – OF COURSE they’re going to be fighting you! They’re still in shock. They’re in denial. That’s a normal part of the grieving process at that point.
On the other hand, if your spouse is saying, “No! We’re not getting a divorce!” and you moved a year ago – that’s a much different problem! That’s no longer a normal part of the grieving process. So, in that case, you need to take a much different approach, maybe a stronger approach to the problem.
If that’s your situation you may say, “I understand that you don’t want to divorce me but we’re getting divorced.” Then maybe your next step is to talk to an attorney and have the attorney send your spouse a letter with your divorce papers. Or maybe the lawyer will take things a step further and actually have the sheriff serve your spouse with papers. Then, if your spouse ignores the court summons, now they’re going to suffer legal ramifications for their failure to respond.
Now, unfortunately, getting a divorce from a reluctance spouse will probably take longer and cost more. But you can definitely still do it. Your spouse doesn’t need to participate in your divorce. You can get a divorce regardless of whether your spouse participates or not.
Let’s talk next about understanding your spouse’s motivation. Knowing what is motivating your spouse helps you understand the level of response that you will need in order to deal with your reluctant spouse’s behavior.
What happens if your spouse has participated in the divorce up to a point and now it’s time to either settle your divorce or go to trial? What happens when your spouse either won’t respond to your settlement proposal or won’t sign off on the final paperwork?
That’s a very different circumstance than having a spouse who won’t participate in your divorce at all.
Now, your spouse still may not want a divorce. That still might be part of their motivation. But it also may be that they just don’t like the deal that you gave them.
As frustrating as that might be, when your spouse does that you have the opportunity to either change the deal and give them something more or different, or tell your lawyer to get a trial date. What matters at that point is that you don’t just do nothing! If you do nothing your spouse can stall the process indefinitely. SO you need to take action by changing the deal or getting a trial date.
Now, going to trial might not have been what you wanted to do. But ultimately – if your spouse won’t sign your divorce papers or won’t participate in your divorce – you will need a judge to divorce you.
What’s important to remember is that if you and your spouse can’t agree on your divorce terms a judge will decide your divorce issues for you. You WILL get divorced. Your spouse can’t stop that.
I hope this gave you some ideas about how to handle this situation. For more tips about handing the situation when your spouse won’t sign divorce papers go to https://karencovy.com/spouse-wont-sign-divorce-papers.