How was the divorce finalized if I didn’t sign any papers?
Divorce is something you can’t deny when your spouse doesn’t want to remain married. Divorce is not like marriage. Marriage requires the agreement of both parties before it can be legally entered into in any state across the nation. Divorce only requires one person’s agreement. If your spouse decides you aren’t the person he or she wants to spend the rest of their life with, they can file for divorce even if you want to keep the marriage alive.
You’re not without options. The moment your spouse decides it’s time to end the marriage, he has the opportunity to file for divorce with the local Clerk of Courts. When he has filed the paperwork, the courthouse hires a process server to serve you with the papers. You can evade the process server and never get them. You can be away and your whereabouts are unknown to your spouse, or you can contest the divorce more than once and still end up divorced even if you don’t sign the papers. While your signature is needed, it’s not required to finalize a divorce. There are numerous ways your divorce is finalized without your signature.
You Weren’t Served
You can do all you want to evade a process server or ignore the paperwork, and you can still end up divorced. Your spouse has the right to ask the court to allow him to file a notice in the local newspaper if he cannot find you to serve you. The paper must carry the announcement, and he must wait a certain number of days before he can ask for the divorce to be finalized before you are finally divorced. If you do not respond to the notice in the paper, a judge will still grant you a divorce even if it’s not what you want. You can’t hide from one forever.
You Contested Too Much
You can argue as much as you want about the process but once your spouse decides he’s done with it, he can argue to end the marriage without your signature. If you refuse to sign the paperwork, you’re not forcing your spouse to stay married. A court will eventually look at the case and see that you haven’t a valid reason for dragging this out as long as you have, and they will grant the finalization of the divorce.
Hire an Attorney
There is nothing you can do to stop a divorce when it occurs. You are not going to stay married to someone who doesn’t want to be married to you. Not signing the papers only means you’re dragging it out too long, but a judge will end your marriage on your behalf at some point depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce.
If you want to hire an attorney, do so. He or she will help you figure out your legal rights, what you’re entitled to, what you’re not entitled to, and how you can change the situation if you want to make it fair or change what’s been asked for by your spouse in the paperwork. An attorney can walk you through the process and help you when you’re overwhelmed. It’s a difficult time, but it’s one you cannot stop no matter how much you want to stay married.
What happens after a response is filed?
The divorce process is rarely a quick one. The most efficient divorces occur between two people who spend their time focusing on the importance of keeping their family happy and caring for their kids rather than hurting one another. These are couples who sit down together and figure out the family finances, the assets and debts, and how they want to handle caring for their kids. They file together, they have their affairs in order, and the process is faster for them because they’re making it as simple as possible. When you decide to file on your own and serve your spouse with divorce papers, there might be a few issues.
The first step after filing is the serving of the papers. A process server finds your spouse and provides him with the papers. He has so many days to read the papers you filed to see what you’re asking for and what conditions the divorce decree comes with. He then has to file a response by the date listed on the paperwork. This response either agrees to the conditions outlined on the paperwork or disagrees with the conditions. He may file his own conditions, and the court will go over those and potentially ask that you go through mediation.
Mediation is a process in which you both sit down with a neutral third party to discuss the outlining facts regarding your case. You will be asked to come up with satisfactory agreements while you’re together, which includes discussing what you disagree with in the petition that was filed. If you can come up with a satisfactory agreement about everything you previously disagreed upon during mediation, the process of your divorce will move along much faster.
If you disagree, you might find yourselves in a court hearing in front of a judge arguing your case. This means you must stand there while the judge asks you why you want this and not that, and then he makes the decision for you based on need and evidence or anything else that’s needed to make a final decision. If you are going to disagree and end up in front of a judge, you can confidently assume you might not like the outcome of this situation. It’s far better to handle this in the mediation room or prior to filing for divorce.
Do I need an attorney?
You are not required by law to have an attorney with you when you go through a divorce. You may represent yourself in the middle of your divorce, but an attorney can certainly make the process a bit smoother. An attorney can work with your spouse’s attorney to figure out how to divide assets and debts, child custody, and come up with an agreement for you. You aren’t required to be there with the attorneys, and things often run a bit smoother when you have an attorney do this for you.
You might even avoid a court hearing if you hire an attorney to fight for what you want in your divorce. It’s not an easy situation in which to be, but you should remember trying to hurt your spouse in the middle of a divorce by disagreeing on everything is only making things more difficult. Be honest and open, and don’t assume you’re doing the right thing fighting every point.