What to Do If Your Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers

Going through a divorce is undoubtedly one of the most stressful and emotional situations a person will experience. Although it is not an easy process, it can go relatively smoothly if both parties co-operate and come to an agreement quickly. However, this may not always be the case. Occasionally, a spouse might decide to ignore the situation or refuse to sign the divorce papers, which can cause unnecessary stress.

Why Might Your Spouse Refuse to Sign the Documents?

Your spouse may choose to defend the divorce by stating that the facts are not true, for example, you have not been separated for five years. This could result in a delay, unless you can petition using a different reason such as demonstrating that their behaviour is unreasonable. It is also quite common for an aggrieved spouse to attempt to make the divorce process more difficult and expensive.

They may:

  • Fail to respond to court documents, therefore delaying the process and increasing costs.
  • Draw out negotiations regarding childcare or finances. The process may be further delayed if the court has been asked to intervene.
  • State that they intend to defend the divorce, which will delay the process further.
Can I Get a Divorce Without Their Signature?

In Northern Ireland, it is possible to file for a divorce without the consent of your spouse. To qualify for this type of divorce, you are required to have been separated for a minimum of 5 years. You will then have the right to serve your spouse with divorce papers or seek a divorce without their permission or participation. However, we recommend that both parties attempt to cooperate and work together; this will reduce the amount of time and money needed.

Should I Put My Divorce on Hold?  

While you may think that your spouse’s lack of cooperation might delay your divorce, this may not be the case. Surprisingly, the most common reason that it might be delayed is if your spouse is actively participating in the process. If they choose not to participate, it may be resolved in a quicker timeframe. Regardless of the situation, we would recommend continuing with the divorce. Alternatively, if you have been separated for 5 years, you can enlist the help of a solicitor to obtain the divorce without their signature.

Contact H McPartland & Sons today in Lurgan or Lisburn to have a chat with a member of our team and find out how we can help you with your divorce. Our solicitors will be familiar with matrimonial law and will be able to help you make the most effective choices to ensure the best possible outcome.