Can My Spouse Refuse to Sign Divorce Papers?
One of the most common myths divorce attorneys come across is the belief that a spouse must consent to a divorce for the process to move forward. Your spouse can certainly make the process more difficult, but he or she cannot prevent it from happening altogether. To get a divorce, all that is required is proof of “irreconcilable differences” – and an inability to agree on the divorce is proof enough of such differences.
If your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, your divorce is considered “contested.” This type of divorce also applies to other situations in which spouses cannot reach an agreement on one or more key issues, such as property division or child custody. In addition to filing for divorce, you also must formally notify your spouse by serving him or her divorce papers. Following these actions, a hearing will take place to establish the reasons for contesting the divorce and for the court to resolve those issues.
From this point, spouses may begin to negotiate on a settlement, addressing all key issues, including the division of assets and debt, spousal support, and child custody. If the spouses disagree on these issues as well, the case will have to go to court, where a judge will make the necessary decisions.
Divorce by Default
If, even after the hearing, the spouse refuses to appear in court and all attempts at negotiating have failed, the filing spouse has the right to request a “default” divorce. The court will uphold the divorce request and the original terms, including division of property, child support, and custodial arrangements listed in the divorce papers.
For more information on this process, check out our section on “The Divorce Process” in our Complete Guide to Divorce in Oregon online resource.
The Portland Divorce Attorneys at McKinley Irvin
At McKinley Irvin, our Portland divorce attorneys are highly accomplished and compassionate legal advocates. Throughout the years, our skilled legal team has helped numerous clients identify their goals and protect their interests throughout the divorce process.Schedule a meeting with a Portland divorce and family law attorney today. Call us at (503) 395-0244.