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Can I Refuse to Sign Divorce Papers?

 Posted on December 21, 2018 in Divorce

Naperville Divorce Attorney

While some couples agree their marriage should end and amicably go their separate ways, not every spouse agrees their relationship is over when confronted with a divorce filing. For some, the idea of divorce is against their religious or moral beliefs. Others are struck completely unaware or oblivious that anything was wrong, and the divorce papers take them completely by surprise. For people in that category, many are unwilling to end the marriage without a fight.

If divorce papers arrive, do you have to sign them? What happens if you refuse?

Refusing Divorce Papers

While you can refuse to sign your divorce papers, it will not keep the divorce from occurring. It will, however, successfully lengthen the divorce process, and likely make it more expensive and emotional. Choosing to dig in your heels and refuse to sign generally increases animosity between the parties and it makes little to no difference in the outcome. In Illinois, two people are required to enter the marriage, but only one is needed to end it.

Default Judgement

If a spouse wants to end a union, they file a petition for dissolution of marriage. State law obligates them to inform the other spouse of the decision to file for divorce through the delivery of written documents. Some people mistakenly believe if they avoid the process server or other party serving the divorce papers, the divorce cannot proceed. If the server is unable to locate the recipient, courts allow for a public advertisement in a local newspaper to satisfy the requirement. The recipient has 30 days to respond. Any lack of response allows the petitioning party to file for a default judgment, which typically favors the petitioner. 

Rethink Your Strategy

If you want to lengthen your marriage by being difficult, you can argue over the terms of custody, property, and just about all of the intricate details involved in separating your lives. However, consider this warning: courts do not typically respond favorably to a stubborn spouse. Instead, consider these alternatives to help your case:

  • Contemplate why you want to hang onto something your spouse wants to end;
  • Try mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods;
  • Discuss your feelings with your spouse through therapy; and
  • Avoid any behaviors that may be perceived negatively.

Talk it Over with a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Whether you have trouble coping with the end of your marriage or you have a plan in place, a Naperville divorce attorney can protect your interests. The Pesce Law Group, P.C. handles all aspects of divorce and family law in the DuPage County area. Call our office today at 630-352-2240 to schedule your free initial consultation.


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