Divorce is never an easy experience to go through. Even if the end of a relationship is fully amicable, handling necessary legal issues can still prove stressful. Unfortunately, these situations are sometimes far from amicable. In some cases, a person may choose to not even participate in the proceedings. What should you do if your spouse won’t sign divorce papers in Texas? The answer to that question may depend on several factors.
Will Refusing to Sign Papers Prevent the Divorce?
Before delving into the specifics of Texas divorce law, it’s important to be clear that one spouse cannot unilaterally prevent a divorce. The belief that they can is often a motivating factor for refusing to sign the necessary legal documents. The spouse who refuses to sign may not want their marriage to end, and in some cases, refusing to sign may be a form of control exerted by an abuser. It’s also possible that the spouse may simply not agree to the terms of a divorce.
When someone refuses to sign divorce papers in Texas, the divorce becomes contested. This can be a tedious and stressful process, and in the end, a judge will typically decide all pertinent issues of the case. Even if the other party refuses to participate in the proceedings at all, the courts can still make decisions on alimony, child custody, Texas property division, and more.
What to Do When a Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers
If your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers in Texas, you simply need to let the courts know. This process starts by filing a petition for divorce with the appropriate court. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to send a copy of that petition to your soon-to-be-former spouse. There is a specific way this must be served, so seeking legal advice can ensure you’re on solid ground when proving your spouse is refusing to cooperate.
When your former partner fails to respond to your petition, you’ll need to file an affidavit stating as much with the courts. This will lead the judge to make decisions without the input of the other party. Even so, the 60-day waiting period for divorce in Texas still stands. This means a judge will not make those important decisions until after that period has expired. Still, your former partner is doing themselves a disservice by not participating.
Consequences of a Contested Divorce
A contested Texas divorce can raise an abundance of legal issues, but they’re particularly problematic for an individual who refuses to participate. That’s because they’ll have no say whatsoever in the final divorce decree. This can prove extremely beneficial to the party that initially petitioned for dissolution, but it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically get everything they want.
That’s because courts will still follow the law when deciding things like property division, alimony, child custody, and other issues. As long as the petitioning party’s requests aren’t over the top, though, there’s a good chance a default finding may grant what they’re looking for. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t still many potential legal hurdles in the way. Contact our Houston divorce law firm today to learn how we can help.