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What will happen if my spouse refuses to sign divorce papers in New Jersey?

signing divorce papers

In cinematic portrayal of divorce, it is often depicted that a divorce cannot be finalized unless both parties sign the divorce papers. However, while this may make for a dramatic plot, this representation is not entirely accurate. As per New Jersey law, you can dissolve your marriage without a signature from your spouse if they refuse to participate in the process. Please continue reading to learn how to move forward by seeking a default divorce judgment and how a determined Ocean County Divorce Attorney can help fight for you today.

What steps should I take if my spouse refuses to sign divorce papers in New Jersey?

It can be overwhelming if you’re dealing with the frustrating scenario of a non-cooperative spouse. As the petitioner, you are responsible for giving your spouse legal notice of your intention to dissolve the marriage. This is completed by serving your spouse divorce papers. As the respondent, your spouse must file an answer to the court within 35 days.

In New Jersey, you can pursue an uncontested or contested divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on all of the terms that will apply to the termination of your marriage, you can seek an uncontested divorce. However, if one spouse does not agree to the divorce terms, you must seek a contested divorce. Couples who pursue an uncontested divorce can avoid litigation, saving a substantial amount of time and money.

With an uncontested divorce, the recipient of the Summons and Complaint will sign and return an Acknowledgement of Service. This document verifies your spouse understands and accepts the divorce terms. The signed paperwork will be filed with the court. However, if your spouse is unwilling to participate in the process, you can request the judge to grant your divorce by default.

What is a default judgment?

If your spouse fails to respond to the Summons and Complaint within 35 days of service, you may file a request for a “default judgment.” To receive a default judgment, you must prove that your spouse was successfully served with the Summons and Complaint. If the respondent fails to answer within 60 days, the judge will grant the divorce based on the terms stipulated by the petitioner.

If your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a knowledgeable Ocean County divorce attorney. At the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC, we are prepared to help guide you through this complex legal process. Allow our legal team to represent your interests today to maximize your chances of achieving the best possible outcome.