How to Obtain a Divorce When Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers

By Contributor

Updated November 28, 2018

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When it comes to the legal system, all divorce begins with a divorce petition. If your partner or spouse refuses to settle the current divorce agreement, your divorce will be considered a contested case and will generally require more time an energy than an uncontested divorce. The good news is that while your spouse may legally make your divorce more difficult, they cannot keep you married once you initiate the divorce proceedings. With patience, determination and a willingness to study the laws, practically anyone can take the steps to resolving their divorce case.

Contact your spouse and discover their reasons for refusing to sign the divorce document. Find out if there are specific requests that you feel comfortable meeting to obtain their compliance and decide whether you are willing to meet their demands.

Call your local courthouse and discover the procedure for filing a petition against your spouse. Determine which court you must use to make your claim--generally a family court--and fill out the petition stating that the marriage has dissolved. Include the basis for divorce if requested on the petition form.

Complete the necessary legal follow-ups, such as a review of the shared assets and property owned by you and your spouse. Carefully read any documents sent to you in regards to the legal requirements of child support, visitation and custody, and contact your spouse to discuss the legal divisions.

Prepare the evidence for the basis of divorce along with any other issues that may require legal resolution during the divorce case. Hire a lawyer to represent your case if desired and present your information in the court of law. Once you and your partner have presented your cases in turn, you will receive a determination of the divorce and a judgment for divorce issued by the court.

Follow up the legal decision by transferring any deeds, property or assets and paying any child support as required by law.


Make sure you fill out all of the requested information on the petition form to ensure an accurate court assessment. Include any requested details, such as separate and community property, child custody and child or spousal support.