The signature that appears on the divorce petition isn't mine?
Divorces are messy situations that are quite common in the United States and many other parts of the world at this point. They have become so common in fact that there is basically a whole industry built up around them. It is sad, but it is also just a fact of life. People go through divorces for a myriad of reasons, but it is important to understand your rights and also what you should do if you are faced with certain situations that you probably did not expect to have to deal with.
One of the things that a lot of people did not see coming would be if their soon to be former spouse forges their signature for them on divorce papers. While it is not necessary to have the signature of your spouse in order to file for divorce, there are certain parts of the process in which this may speed things up.
What Could Happen
In the scenario where your soon to be former spouse has forged your signature on documents related to how the divorce will be settled out, you can expect your case to move from family court to a criminal court situation. This is because that person has potentially committed a crime (if it can be proven). They are not allowed to sign for you on any legal documents. It is against the law and it is a clear violation of your rights in the divorce process. You deserve to fight this thing out as best as you can.
Get In Touch With The Divorce Court
You need to inform the divorce court if you feel that the other party in your case has forged your signature. You have a legal right to all documents that are used in your case, and this means that you may request copies of each and every one of them. If you have those copies in hand, you can review the signatures to see if there is something strange going on with the signatures. If you suspect it to be true, then you are probably not wrong about that.
The court clerk is your next best resource in this process because they can tell you what you need to do next depending upon the rules and procedures of the state that you are in. Each state sets their own standards for this kind of thing, but every state has a way in which these types of wrongs can be addressed. You just have to make sure you follow the procedures very carefully as court matters like this must be handled in very specific ways in order for it to be legal.
Law Enforcement May Get Involved
To the person who commits this crime it may not even seem like that big of a deal. They may decide that they can get away with it and that this will even make their life a bit easier. They are very wrong to think all of that though. The truth is that forging a signature is a serious criminal activity, and law enforcement may get involved right away. That little idea that they had that this will be no big deal is sure to change when they start to see the blue and red lights of law enforcement.
Speak With Your Attorney First
It is not a good idea necessarily to run out and confront the other party in your divorce right off the bat. Remember that there are a lot of emotions tied up in a divorce, and running out to confront them about something that you believe may have happened may have the effect of backfiring on you. It is best to consult with your attorney before you do anything dramatic. He or she will likely advise you to stay away from the other party and just keep going about your life. Allow your attorney to handle these kinds of matters. He or she is probably best equipped to deal with things because they do not personally have a stake in the outcome aside from representing you.
If Left Alone
Some people may decide that they would rather not challenge the signature because they still do not want to see the other party end up potentially going to jail or facing some other criminal penalty. The person who chooses this route must understand that by doing so he or she is agreeing to whatever the terms are that the other party has signed for you on. This is not likely to be to your benefit in the long run. Who knows what are in those papers?
Your soon to be former spouse will most likely put things in the divorce papers that you do not agree with. If they try to force you to agree by signing your name for you, you must consider the value of going after them over that forgery versus what you might have to deal with if you just leave it all alone. Think about that and weigh your options with your attorney. It is most likely the case that your attorney will recommend that you pursue charges against the other party for forgery. You have to understand that this is very likely to be in your best interest. Just remember that you deserve to be treated fairly during every step of the divorce process no matter what.