Typically, the signature of both spouses is required on the divorce petition to proceed with the dissolution of marriage. However, if your spouse refuses to respond or to sign the divorce papers, does that mean you’re stuck not getting a divorce? Not necessarily. Here’s what to do.
Make Sure Your Spouse Was Properly Served
First, you need to ensure that your spouse was properly served with the divorce petition. You won’t be able to move forward with the divorce if you can’t prove that they were either properly notified or that you put forth your best attempt at having your spouse served. Serving court papers is most often done by sending them via certified U.S. mail with return receipt requested to the last known address of your spouse. You can also have your spouse professionally served.
Ask the Court to Post a Public Notice if Your Spouse Cannot Successfully Be Served
If you are unable to have your spouse served successfully using traditional methods, you may be able to petition the court to publish a public notice about the divorce in the newspaper.
This is considered a last resort and will usually only be granted by a judge in cases where individuals have put substantial effort into locating their spouse first, including but not limited to checking with the DMV, criminal court and federal prison records, hospitals, homeless shelters, and U.S. death records.
File a Request for a Default Judgment
If your spouse still does not respond for a period of time after the public notice is posted, you may be able to file a motion to request a divorce by default. This means that a judge will review your divorce petition in the absence of your spouse and grant the divorce. Usually, a judge will also grant whatever you requested in your petition, such as sole custody of a child you share or the transfer of ownership of the family home to your name.
Should You Contact a New York Divorce Attorney?
Are you considering the option of getting a divorce and think your ex may not agree to sign the divorce petition? If so, you need the help of an experienced New York divorce lawyer. Contact Mary Katherine Brown to get more information about how to advocate for your rights in the event your ex refuses to sign for the divorce. Call today for a consultation at (718) 878-6886.Posted in : Divorce ,