What Do I Do If My Spouse Refuses to Get Divorced? Part 2

My Spouse Refuses to Respond to the Divorce Petition

Most spouses who disagree with a divorce eventually come around to accepting the fact that it is going to happen. But even if they refuse to be served divorce papers, even if they refuse to respond to filings, or refuse to show up in court, the divorce process will move forward. Your divorce lawyer will see to it. 

My Spouse Refuses to Respond to the Divorce Petition

Even if your spouse refused to be served divorce papers and you had to use an alternate means of notification, your spouse still has an opportunity to respond to your petition for divorce.  They can file a response any time from when they were served until the Monday following 20 days from the date of service.  

If your spouse chooses not to respond to the divorce petition, your attorney will file an affidavit with the court to prove that the divorce petition was served as the court ordered and your spouse did not respond. 

The judge will then issue a default judgment (a decision on the issues of your divorce) and your spouses’ wishes will not be considered. You will need to attend a brief hearing to get the judge’s approval on matters such as property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support. 

My Spouse Responded to the Petition but Won’t Sign the Final Decree

In this case, your spouse filed an answer in response to your divorce petition. They completed it by the deadline, but when faced with the final decree of divorce and they wouldn’t sign. Now you have a contested divorce and you will have to ask for a contested hearing date. 

If your spouse does not show up in court, the judge will issue a default judgment. 

My Spouse Wants the Judge to Set Aside the Default Judgment. Now What?

A default judgement is made when a respondent fails to file an answer to the divorce petition by the deadline or fails to show up for a hearing date. It would be nice to think once the judgment has been made, that’s the end of it, but a recalcitrant spouse has one more opportunity to create a delay. 

Your spouse can ask the judge to set aside the default judgment in order to hear their case. 

This strategy can backfire. They have to prove that they didn’t file an answer or they failed to show up to court because they weren’t properly served, or didn’t have notice of the hearing, or because of an accident or mistake. 

If all the proper steps were followed for serving the divorce petition, they won’t have a leg to stand on with this claim.

If they are claiming accident or mistake, they have to prove to the judge that they have a good case, that they aren’t just trying to delay things, and that cancelling the prior judgement won’t harm you, the other party. That’s a tall order. 

Talk to a Ft. Worth Divorce Lawyer Helping Clients Deal with Difficult Spouses

Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce. It will happen, even if it is slightly delayed or challenging. Ft. Worth divorce lawyer V. Wayne Ward has been helping clients divorce difficult spouses for more than 30 years. Contact the Law Office of V. Wayne Ward or call 817-789-4436