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What Happens When Someone Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers in Illinois?

Choosing to divorce your spouse is an emotionally difficult decision to make.  This process is complicated for both parties, but sometimes the decision to get divorced is necessary to promote and improve the well-being of both parties.  Some spouses may resist the concept of a divorce, but through time, this is typically resolved.  

You may experience the rare occurrence of your spouse refusing to participate in divorce proceedings.  Because of this refusal, you may feel unable to move forward with your life.  You may have a variety of questions you need answered, including whether you have to remain in the marriage and what methods you can use to expedite your divorce proceedings.

This article will explain why some spouses refuse to participate, what strategies you can implement to deal with their lack of cooperation, and how to manage a contested divorce.

Why do some spouses refuse to sign divorce papers?

To be clear, a defendant in a divorce case is never required to sign any papers as far as agreeing or not agreeing to a divorce.  

However, spouses sometimes refuse to participate in certain aspects of the divorce proceedings, and there are a variety of different reasons for these refusals.

Oftentimes, refusal stems from a strong belief in the vow and sanctity of marriage due to religious or other values. Another reason your spouse may refuse to cooperate is a fear of shame from friends, co-workers, family, and various social circles. In some cases, the refusal is due to your spouse being in denial about the end of your marriage.  

The ending of marriage consists of a variety of feelings that range from anger to bitterness to regret. By making the divorce more complicated for you, your spouse is using a last form of defiance to retaliate against your decision.  

Other reasons for refusing to cooperate in a divorce proceeding can be directly related to abuse in a variety of forms that include:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Sexual
  • Financial

By refusing to work with you throughout the divorce process, your spouse is using a last ditch effort to remain in control.  

Strategies you can use with a refusal

Once you determine why your spouse is resisting, you can select an appropriate reaction strategy.  Some instances, such as an abusive spouse trying to maintain control, may require a divorce attorney’s guidance.  

When a spouse initially refuses to sign divorce paperwork, this may be due to surprise and needing time to adjust and, in most cases, they will eventually relent. When this is the case, you need to provide your partner with some time and space. Other strategies to steer your spouse towards cooperation include:

  • Attending family counseling or mediation together;
  • Filing a restraining order in abusive situations;
  • Having a conversation with your spouse about divorce before serving them papers (resistance is common when your spouse is unaware of what is coming);
  • Discussing other potential options with your attorney.  

Ultimately, total failure to participate in divorce proceedings could result in a default judgment against the non-responsive party.

How to handle a contested divorce

If you and your spouse are not in agreement on all issues, then your divorce is considered “contested”.

Contested matters can go through many phases and processes before they are resolved. They are resolved when both parties are in agreement or at a trial where the Judge makes a final decision.

Some of the procedures before trial are discovery, such as interrogatories, request for production of documents and records,  depositions, subpoenas, and completion of financial affidavits.

When children are involved there are additional procedures including mediation and parenting classes. In some cases, the Court may appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate and advise the Court as to matters relating to children.

There are also pretrial conferences and trial conferences.

At the final trial, the Court will hear testimony and consider evidence and make a final decision on all contested issues which may include:

Why Diamond Divorce Law in McHenry Illinois?

Because of the large amount of stress and emotional turmoil that occurs during divorce proceedings, hiring a team of reliable and professional legal experts will protect your best interests and give you much needed peace of mind. 

The law firm of Diamond Divorce Law in McHenry Illinois understands that you want to move forward with your life. We work diligently to preserve your rights and options when representing you. You can rely on our legal services to guide you through this challenging time of unease and difficulty.  

Our law firm has been established in this community for over 50 years. We have assisted hundreds of clients, successfully helping them through the divorce process, custody battles, and other family law-related issues.  

At Diamond Divorce Law, you can trust that we prioritize your needs and maintain a constant stream of communication. 

Contact our team at Diamond Divorce Law today

Contact the Diamond Divorce Law legal team to schedule a complimentary consultation today. After hearing your story and gathering more necessary information, we will work with you to determine what your best options are. Our law firm looks forward to creating a plan and moving forward with your case so you can move on with your life. 

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