Divorce or dissolution of marriage can be difficult, even when both spouses agree that it is best. It can be incredibly frustrating when one spouse refuses to cooperate with the divorce process. Unfortunately, it can also result in a battle in divorce court when a spouse refuses to negotiate a fair settlement for property division, child support, alimony, and child custody.
What happens when one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers in Orlando, Florida? Can the court grant the divorce if both spouses do not sign the divorce papers? Seeking legal advice from an experienced Orlando divorce attorney is the best way to deal with a spouse who refuses to sign divorce papers. Until then, continue reading for further insight into the subject.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Florida?
In some states, there are legal grounds for ending a marriage. One spouse must prove “fault” for the divorce to legally end a marriage. Common “fault” grounds for divorces include adultery, domestic violence, and abandonment.
However, Florida is a no-fault state for divorce proceedings. A spouse does not need to prove their partner did anything wrong to obtain a divorce. All that is required is for one spouse to state that irreconcilable differences make the marriage irretrievably broken for a no-fault divorce.
Therefore, you do not need your spouse to sign divorce papers to get divorced in Florida. You can petition the court for the divorce claiming irreconcilable differences to obtain the divorce without your spouse’s consent or involvement.
When a spouse does not want to be involved in divorce proceedings, it could make it easier, quicker, and less costly. The court holds the spouse in default if a spouse does not respond or file an answer after being served divorce papers. A judge typically enters a default judgment granting the divorce under the terms requested in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Why Would a Spouse Refuse To Sign Divorce Papers in Orlando?
A spouse might refuse to sign divorce papers for many reasons. Common reasons for refusing to cooperate with a divorce proceeding include:
- A spouse does not want a divorce
- A spouse has religious or other beliefs against divorce
- A spouse wants to make things more difficult for their ex-partner
- The spouse believes the myth that a divorce cannot be granted unless they sign the divorce papers
- A spouse might want to try to work things out
Every situation is unique. The reasons for not signing divorce papers are as varied as the reasons for getting a divorce. Determining why your spouse will not sign divorce papers can be a waste of time and energy.
Instead, it might be more beneficial to seek legal advice from an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer. A divorce attorney advises you of your legal rights, prepares and files all documents with the court, and represents you during all court hearings. Hiring a divorce lawyer can help you avoid errors and mistakes that could delay a divorce.
What Happens if My Spouse Contests the Divorce?
When you file for divorce in Orlando, you must serve your spouse with copies of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The petition explains you are asking for a divorce and gives your spouse a specific deadline for responding. Your spouse must respond before the deadline, or they are in default.
If your spouse files an answer or other response with the court, the divorce case can go in several different directions. First, your spouse might agree with you regarding the terms of the divorce. If so, the divorce is uncontested, and your agreement can be incorporated into the court’s final order.
Issues regarding child support and child custody can be exceptions. The court has jurisdiction to decide what is in the child’s best interest. If the judge determines that your agreement regarding support and custody is not in your child’s best interest, the judge can issue an order with different terms.
Your spouse might contest the terms of the divorce. In other words, your spouse might demand sole custody, spousal support, or a larger share of the property division. A divorce lawyer can help you negotiate a divorce settlement. Negotiating a divorce settlement avoids litigation.
If your spouse refuses to settle the terms of your divorce, the court decides for the couple. A contested divorce could take a year or longer to resolve. The judge ultimately decides the divorce terms after a final hearing.
Contested divorces are more costly, time-consuming, and stressful. Neither party might “win” or gain the outcome they desire. A mediated divorce or collaborative divorce often results in an agreement that is better for all parties involved.
Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803