In some Florida divorces, only one spouse makes the decision to end the marriage. People might believe that both parties must agree to the divorce for it to come to pass. However, one spouse can file for divorce, and it can be granted even if the other spouse does not give permission. Understanding what to do if the spouse does not want to sign the divorce papers is important if these circumstances arise.
A person who is seeking a divorce does not need the other spouse’s participation or approval. In general, if only one spouse is pursuing the divorce and the other refuses to take part, it will be an uncontested divorce. After the case has been filed, the respondent has 30 days to reply. Failure to do so will be perceived by the court as a decision to not contest the petition, and a default divorce will likely be granted.
There may be a court date if there is no response to the filing. If the spouse who is refusing to sign or take part in the proceeding simply does not show up to court on the day of the trial, the judge will grant the divorce based on the information provided by the petitioner. If the relationship is contentious, the spouse who has failed to reply or sign the divorce papers might decide to fight the case and seek support, begin a dispute over property division or pursue child custody.
The personality of the other spouse will be an essential factor in how the case proceeds. It might be relatively smooth once the decision is accepted, or it could be complicated. Regardless, having legal advice may be imperative to a successful outcome. A firm with experience in family law, divorce, custody and more might be helpful.