Serving your spouse divorce papers is not an easy thing, especially if you know they will not want to cooperate. There are multiple reasons for a spouse to refuse to sign divorce papers. They may be opposed to getting a divorce altogether and may be reluctant to let go of their marriage.
If you have children, they may be concerned about the potential impact of the separation on them. Additionally, it’s possible that your spouse might refuse to sign the papers simply because they are angry, especially if they were unaware of your intention to file for divorce.
If my spouse won’t sign, can I still divorce them?
Yes, you can go ahead with your divorce even if your spouse refuses to sign the papers. Your spouse has a certain period of time to reply once you serve them with a divorce petition. In Massachusetts, the response must be filed within 20 days. You can then ask for a default divorce if your spouse doesn’t respond to your request by the deadline. In order to ask the court to grant a divorce by default, you must file a separate divorce petition with the court proving that your spouse ignored it. You will then need to serve your spouse a second time.
Sometimes, when a person receives divorce papers, they may try to delay the process by not responding until a few days after the deadline has passed. If your partner files a response asking for different arrangements than what you asked for in your divorce papers, the court may follow a standard divorce procedure rather than granting you a divorce by default.
Ultimately, the divorce process can be complicated, which is why it makes sense to seek assistance with the process as proactively as you can.