How can I get a divorce without my spouse signing the legal papers? 29 Answers as of July 11, 2013

I don't have a lawyer yet but I know my husband won't sign the papers and doesn't want to get a divorce. What can I do?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
In Texas, it takes two to be married, one to quit. Even if he does not want the divorce, he cannot stop you from getting one. That said, the step is to have him served with papers, he does not have to sign them, as long as there is legal status to show he knows of the divorce and chooses not to participate.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/29/2011
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
In IL it is not a requirement that both spouses sign the divorce papers. It is usually easier, obviously, if both parties agree, but is not a necessity. Illinois does not force anyone to stay in a marriage they do not want to be in. Call today to discuss this matter in more detail.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/29/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
It would be difficult to acquire a simple divorce without having a signed agreement. However, a signed agreement is never required. It is possible to serve your spouse with divorce papers and if they do not respond within a statutory time, you may seek a default order. If your spouse responds, the matter may proceed as contested to a trial where a court decides the issues.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/28/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You start the action with a petition for dissolution and have him served. He does not have to agree.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/28/2011
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
In California if the other party will not Respond to the Petition that give the Petitioner the right to request a Default and get a divorce despite the other parties refusal to engage in the legal process to dissolve the marriage.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/27/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If you hire an experienced divorce lawyer, your lawyer will know what to do to get you a divorce if your husband doesn't sign divorce papers. Your husband doesn't need to sign anything to be served; all that needs to be done is personal service of the Summons and Petition on your husband by a process server. Divorce is granted in California where irreconcilable differences have arisen between the parties, leading to an irremediable breakdown of the marriage. You and your husband have irreconcilable differences: you want a divorce and he doesn't. If your husband does not file (or timely file) a Response to the Petition, your family law attorney can file a request to enter your husband's default, and once his default is entered, your lawyer can proceed to get you a divorce without your husband's participation in the divorce case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    Consult a lawyer. You must file dissolution papers and have him served requesting a divorce and any other relief you may be entitled to. If he doesn't answer in time the judge will grant it.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    After you file the paperwork in court (with just your signature), you need to have your husband served with that paperwork. After that, he has a time limit of how long he can wait before filing his own response. If he fails to file within the timeframe, there should be a procedure through which you can move forward without him.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    In Wisconsin, you can file for divorce and get one without their agreement. They will need to be properly served and the matter might need to be tried but your spouse can't stop you from getting a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, it does not require both parties' consent to get a divorce. Once you file for divorce, have him served by a private process server or the Sheriff's department and that will get the process started.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, you will need to have divorce papers served on your husband (you do not need him to sign them). If he does not file responsive papers, you can complete the case without him by default. If he does respond, then either you work out a resolution with him or you go to trial to have the court decide the terms of the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
    Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Paul M. Teinert
    Once you file your dissolution and serve your husband he will have 30 days to respond to the petition. If your husband chooses not to respond you can proceed with a default judgment. This means the court will grant you the divorce even though your husband did not participate in the action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    If your spouse has filed a Response, you will need to set the matter for trial. If your spouse has not filed a Response, you may file a Request for Default Dissolution. You may wish to retain an attorney to assist you in finalizing your divorce and advising you of your options on how you should proceed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    You should file for divorce, and serve copies of the pleadings on your spouse. If he doesn't respond by filing a pleading with the court, you can get a default judgment without your spouse's signature.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Rogosheske Lawton
    Rogosheske Lawton | Kelly Lawton Rogosheske
    If he wont sign to say hes received divorce papers, in Minnesota you can start the process by having the sheriff personally serve him. Theres typically a fee for this service, which varies by county.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    There is no need for him to sign anything. The only requirement is to serve the papers in order to make sure he knows about the proceedings. If he chooses to do nothing, that is his problem and the court can proceed without him.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You can start the action and complete it without him but you do have to serve him.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You simply file the divorce papers indicating that there is no settlement agreement and get him properly served. If he fails to respond, then a default is entered and you can proceed to final judgment. If he files a written response, then you would proceed to mediation. It would be best if you had an experienced attorney to guide you through the process in order to ensure that all necessary paperwork is properly filed. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available. If you would like to coordinate a free initial telephone consultation, please contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    It depends on what state you are in. In Washington, the signature of only one spouse is necessary. The summons, petition, and other documents are served upon the non-signing spouse after filing them with the court. The matter is then handled as a contested proceeding, with either settlement or trial at the conclusion.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    It is not necessary that the other person sign the divorce papers. Once they are served, if they do not file a written answer with the court within 20 days, the court can enter a Default and the divorce will be granted without their input.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Simple. Sue him for divorce. That way, he doesn't have to sign anything. The attorney you hire and the court will do everything for him and he won't have to sign a thing.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    File the paperwork. Serve him the paperwork and proceed to trial. If he doesn't show, you win. If he shows, the court will make its ruling and if he doesn't sign, the court will still sign the order. You need the judge's signautre, not your husband's.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
    Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
    Washington is a no-fault state. You don't need your spouse's consent or agreement or signature to dissolve your marriage. You must make sure that your spouse has notice that you have filed a Dissolution Petition. The usual way to do that is to serve him/her with the Dissolution Petition and Summons. A Dissolution Hearing can be scheduled 90 days after service.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    In most states, a person does not have to stay married. You have the right in Ohio and Michigan to file a complaint for divorce without the permission of your spouse. If he does not contest it, you will end up with an uncontested divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    In Georgia you do not need your husband's signature or permission to get a divorce. You can file a divorce petition, have him served by the sheriff and the case would proceed with or without your spouse. Talk to an attorney regarding representation in a contested divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    If a spouse refuses to participate in the divorce process, such as not filing a response, then you can proceed by default. If your spouse does file a response, but simply won't agree with you on settlement terms, then you will need to schedule a hearing or trial judge to decide any and all disputed issues.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Every State has a provision for divorce by "default." If your spouse does nothing, the court should simply grant your requests.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/27/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Even if your spouse was agreeable, you'd want a lawyer. With him disagreeable, it is even more essential. You can get a divorce without his agreement. That is called a contested divorce, and even though some become expensive, if you persevere, you can get your divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/11/2013
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