Divorce can be traumatic and leave unresolved feelings. It’s not easy to consider ending a union that partners thought was going to be perfect. Sadly, divorce may sometimes be the best possible alternative for all parties involved. One or both parties may decide that it’s simply time to move on instead of trying to repair what was broken.
The divorce request will be heard in court. Each side will have the opportunity to present their case. The judge will then evaluate all information and testimony that was provided. If they feel that the divorce is warranted, a divorce decree will be issued.
Each partner will receive a copy of the divorce paperwork. The person who made the divorce request (known as the petitioner) and the other person in the marriage (known as the respondent) will receive a copy of the divorce paperwork. People involved in a divorce who currently live in Maryland will have 30 days to respond to those documents. That time is extended to 60 days for people who are living in a different state and up to 90 days for people who are living in another country.
Why Must Divorce Paperwork Be Signed?
Both parties will need to sign the divorce papers if they are mutually consenting to the divorce. They will most likely also have created a marital separation agreement in those instances, which determines alimony, child support, child visitation and other important matters. Having both parties sign the paperwork and agree to the conditions will make things easier. The divorce may also be settled in a matter of weeks or months as a result.
Why Would One Party Refuse to Sign the Divorce Papers?
There are a litany of reasons why a spouse could decide not to sign the divorce papers they were served. Some may object to the divorce in the first place. They may not be ready to let the marriage end or wonder how the breakup could affect their children.
Your former partner may be angry with you. They could see their refusal to sign the divorce papers as a win, thinking that they have the upper hand. That person could also try to pit your children and other family members against you in the process.
You can attempt to communicate with your former spouse if you wish. Do so at your own discretion. If they are angry with you or don’t want to get divorced, they will probably disregard whatever you have to say. If you have children together, you may want to gently remind them that the divorce may be in their best interests.
Can A Person Not Respond to Divorce Papers?
People don’t have to reply to divorce paperwork if they don’t want to. Failure to respond may make it easier for partners who are filing for divorce. In all likelihood, the person who doesn’t respond may not necessarily show up in court to plead their case or make any counterclaims.
The persons who chose to not respond to the divorce documents won’t be thrown in jail or be ordered to pay a fine. Penalties such as fines or prison time may be added by a judge if a person fails to pay court-ordered child support or alimony or doesn’t appear for their scheduled child visitation sessions. The offender could be assessed a fine of up to $1,000 and a fine of no more than 90 days in those instances. They could be given more jail times and/or have their fines increased for each additional violation.
What Can I Do If My Spouse Doesn’t Sign the Divorce Paperwork?
If your spouse fails to sign the divorce papers and doesn’t respond, you can still go ahead with the divorce proceedings. Your case will be presented before a judge in a court of law. You can represent yourself or opt to hire legal counsel.
You don’t have to give up your legal rights just because your spouse has not signed the divorce paperwork. Pursue the divorce if you wish and be prepared to give reasons or evidence in court as to why you are seeking the end of the marital union. Just because one party doesn’t want to sign the divorce papers doesn’t mean that
Can I Get Divorced Without the Other Person Signing the Divorce Papers?
You can’t get a mutual consent divorce in the state of Maryland without both parties signing the divorce paperwork. However, you may choose to file for a no-fault divorce. This can be accomplished as long as you’ve either established proof that you and your spouse have separated from one another for at least a year or that mutual consent was obtained for the divorce request as your grounds for seeking the divorce.
It may take more time to obtain a no-fault divorce, especially if you haven’t met the one-year separation requirement yet. You could wait until that time has elapsed before filing for divorce if you want. You just need to live in separate residences for that year. Your former partner does not need to agree to the separation, either.
The judge may make a default ruling in your favor if the other party does not participate or cooperate. You’ll have to provide proof that you’ve made efforts to have the divorce paperwork served to them, whether your spouse replies to the papers or not. This could extend the time it takes to complete the divorce, but the effort may be very well worth it in the end.
If your partner won’t sign the divorce papers, give us a call. Contact us today to set up a no-obligation consultation. We’ll sit down with you and listen so that we can better understand your situation. Our veteran attorneys will provide advice for your next steps and be ready to represent you in court if you want. Divorce is most always unpleasant. There are bound to be things and feelings that will be expressed that are purely emotional. It’s important to keep a level head and try to not let your feelings get in the way. Sometimes the end of one union could even lead to a better relationship in the future.