What to Do If Your Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers: 4 Things to Do

If your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, you may feel at a dead end. You may be tempted to give up or take extreme measures to get them to sign. You need to answer the question of what to do if your spouse won’t sign divorce papers.

Before you do anything drastic, there are three things you can do that may help resolve the situation: try to find out the reason, talk to them about it, try mediation, or get a lawyer for a default divorce. In this blog post, I will discuss each option in more detail and help you decide which one is right for you.

what to do if your spouse won't sign divorce papers

What to Do If Your Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce papers: 4 Things You Can Do

One of my clients, Jackson, wanted to end his marriage to his wife, Kate, but she refused to sign the divorce papers. After exploring options with him and discussing what was best for him and his future, Jackson decided on one of these four options:

#1. Find out the reason:

Before taking any drastic measures, try to communicate with your spouse and find out what is causing them not to sign the divorce papers. Are they holding on to feelings of hurt or anger? Do they have concerns about finances or children?

It might be a sign to save the marriage from the other spouse. Also, they want to make things more difficult for their spouse, like a narcissistic spouse. However, it is vital to find the reason because it can help you better approach the situation.

Once you understand their reasoning, you can address any issues and try to come to a resolution together. If you can’t talk to each other, ask a therapist or mediator to help.

You may also talk to your spouse’s family or friends to see if they can shed any light on the situation and help you find a resolution. Sometimes, your spouse may not share their feelings openly, but those close to them may have insight.

#2. Convince your spouse:

After finding out the reason for their refusal, try talking to them about it. Communicate openly and listen to their concerns. Approach the conversation with understanding and empathy rather than anger or frustration.

If possible, devise a solution that works for both of you. This could be anything from reaching a fair agreement on assets and finances to creating a co-parenting plan for children.

If your spouse is holding onto hurt feelings, apologize for any wrongdoing and try to heal the wounds of the past. Show them that you are willing to work towards an amicable resolution and move forward with your lives.

If they are worried about money, you could offer to divide assets fairly or suggest making a plan to pay off any debts. If they are worried about custody, offer to work together on a parenting plan that addresses their concerns.

If talking alone does not work, consider seeking help from a therapist or mediator to convince the spouse for the divorce.

#3. Mediation:

Try mediation if talking to your spouse and finding out the reason for their refusal does not work. A neutral third party can help you, and your spouse agrees on all aspects of the divorce, including assets, custody, and support.

Mediation can be a less expensive and more amicable alternative to going through the court system. It also allows both parties to have a say in the resolution rather than leaving it up to a judge to decide.

Before starting mediation, ensure you are prepared with all necessary information and documents, such as a list of assets and debts, income information, and any agreements made during discussions with your spouse.

Mediation can also be helpful if underlying issues are causing the refusal to sign divorce papers, such as communication problems or unresolved hurt feelings. A therapist or mediator can help address these issues and facilitate a resolution.

#4. File for a default divorce:

“Can you get a divorce without the other person signing the papers?”

Yes, you can, but it will take longer and may require more effort on your part. Once you serve the divorce petition on your spouse (either through regular service or an alternative method), your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond (usually about 20-30 days).

If your spouse doesn’t file an answer in time, you may then request a default divorce. State and local rules on default divorces vary, but the process typically goes like this-

You fill out and file a default request, the court reviews your request and grants or denies it, and then moves forward with the divorce process without your spouse’s participation.

Remember that if your spouse eventually responds to the divorce petition, the process may have to start over. It is also possible for them to contest the divorce even after it has been granted.

This method is also applicable if your spouse’s whereabouts are unknown to you; still, you can divorce. However, you will need to try and locate them through various means, such as hiring a private investigator or asking friends and family.

However, in this stage, you should consult with a lawyer to ensure that you follow the necessary steps and fulfill any requirements.

What happens if your spouse won’t sign divorce papers? If you are still not convinced, watch the below video regarding the divorce guide:

FAQs on what to Do If Your Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers

Can you get a divorce without your spouse knowing?

In the United States, getting a divorce is generally impossible without your spouse knowing.

In most states, the first step in getting a divorce is to file a petition with the court. This petition must be given to your spouse, letting them know that a divorce is coming up.

In some states, you may be able to have the petition served by publication, which means that notice of the divorce will be published in a newspaper. However, this is only allowed in certain circumstances, and your spouse will still need to be given another form of notice.

In addition, even if your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition, the court will still need to hold a hearing before issuing a final divorce decree. As a result, it is very difficult to get a divorce without your spouse being aware of the proceedings.

Do both spouses have to agree to divorce?

No, both spouses do not have to agree to divorce. One spouse can file for divorce, and the other spouse will be served with divorce papers.

The spouse who is served with papers can choose to contest the divorce, but if they do not respond or show up to court, the divorce will be granted. The uncontested divorce process is usually quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce.

However, even if both spouses agree to the divorce, some important decisions still need to be made, such as the division of property and custody of children.

An experienced divorce attorney can help couples navigate the divorce process and reach a fair agreement for both parties. If you don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer, you may still get divorce lawyers without money.

How long does a divorce take if one party doesn’t agree?

A divorce can be a long and stressful process, especially if the parties don’t agree on the terms. If one party doesn’t want the divorce, they may try to drag out the proceedings to make things more difficult for their spouse. Sometimes, this can lead to a divorce taking years to finalise. 

However, there are also several ways to speed up the process. In most states, a waiting period is six months to a year before a divorce can be finalised. However, if both parties agree on the divorce terms, this waiting period can be waived.

Many courts offer mediation or arbitration services to help couples agree on contested issues. By working with a mediator or arbitrator, couples can often resolve much faster than if they were proceeding through the court system. Therefore, although divorce can take a long time if one party is unwilling to cooperate, some steps can be taken to speed up the process.

How to get a divorce if a spouse refuses in Mississippi?

If a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers in Mississippi, the other spouse can still file for divorce. The process begins by filing a petition with the court and serving the spouse with divorce papers.

The spouse then has 30 days to respond to the petition. If they do not respond, the court will grant a default judgment and proceed with the divorce. However, if the spouse does respond, the court will set a hearing date, and both parties will have an opportunity to present their case. If the court finds grounds for divorce, they will issue a final judgment, finalising the divorce.

Can you refuse divorce?

While it is technically possible to refuse a divorce, it is not advisable. Once your spouse has filed for divorce, they are legally obligated to follow through with the proceedings. If you refuse to sign the divorce papers, your spouse can simply file a motion with the court asking that the divorce be granted on their own.

In most cases, the judge will grant this motion, and you will be divorced whether you like it. Additionally, by refusing to sign the papers, you will likely delay the proceedings and incur additional legal fees. Ultimately, it is usually best to simply go ahead and sign the papers, even if you are reluctant to do so. This will allow you to move on with your life and start the next chapter without unnecessary delays or complications.

What happens if the husband won’t sign divorce papers in Florida?

If your husband doesn’t sign the divorce papers in Florida, you’ll have to file a petition for dissolution of marriage without his consent. This can be done if you prove that your husband has abandoned you or he’s been convicted of a felony.

You’ll also have to attend a hearing, at which point the judge will decide whether to grant the divorce. Even if your husband doesn’t sign the papers, the divorce will still be granted, and you’ll be able to move on with your life.


It can be very irritating and tough if your spouse doesn’t sign the divorce papers. Nevertheless, there are certain measures you can take to progress with the process.

Try to communicate and understand their reasons, offer compromises, or request a default divorce. Consult with a lawyer for guidance throughout the process. Ultimately, focus on finding happiness and moving forward with your life.

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