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What Happens if I Refuse to Sign Divorce Papers?

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Marriage comes with a lot of work and sacrifice. It’s understandable if you spend time and energy trying to figure out how to keep a marriage afloat, you would be frustrated to hear your spouse seemingly want to give up and request that you sign divorce papers. Or, in a different version of these events, your spouse may have chosen a very hurtful time to start the divorce, such as in the wake of a personal tragedy. Whatever your circumstances may be, it is very valid to be insulted when presented with divorce papers. What are your options in this moment? Can you buy yourself time or even halt proceedings altogether if you refuse to sign the divorce papers? Read on to find out, and contact a Union County divorce attorney as soon as you can if you are dealing with a divorce you never expected to deal with.

What Happens When I Refuse to Sign Divorce Papers?

New Jersey divorce law does not permit one spouse to compel the other spouse to stay married. Quite the opposite: if you refuse to participate in a divorce action, you may end up compelled to take part. A judgment of divorce can be entered regardless of whether you agree or keep objecting.

If your spouse is requesting a divorce, but you do not wish to end the marriage, you should talk to a family law attorney as soon as possible. You’ll need legal insight to understand what your rights and responsibilities are under the law.

What Is the Downside of Refusing to Sign the Papers?

You aren’t committing a crime by refusing to sign divorce papers, but you are putting yourself in a less-than-optimal position. The divorce can still proceed. It is not necessary for you to be involved, only ideal. And there may even be times when the court may compel you to participate, such as by executing documentation or by complying with the terms decided on by the court after the final hearing.

You cannot just ignore the paperwork and hope that thereby the marriage won’t end. By contrast, even if your spouse has chosen a terrible time for it, there is a limit to how much time you can buy for yourself by not signing. It may be cathartic to make things more difficult for your soon-to-be former spouse; and it can also be infuriating to be taken advantage of while you yourself are in a weak place and not ready, financially or otherwise, to divorce.

Unfortunately, in either of these examples—in any situation—all you can do is delay the inevitable. If you are just trying to wait it out until a comparatively more opportune time, you may get close to what you want. Otherwise, the largest impact of delaying is causing emotional and financial expense, until the separation is still ultimately finalized.

However, should you choose to participate (hopefully with counsel!), then by law, you will be entitled to have your say in the decisions. That is a unique part of family law. Given how personal divorce can be, a legal topic that involves sensitive details like financial support and child custody, family law courts often encourage people to agree on a settlement that, in its most complete form, benefits every party, spouses and children alike (if any).

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Mediation Services

Our firm believes that exploring alternatives to litigation can greatly benefit our client. Our firm’s established mediation practice can help you resolve family law issues more efficiently, amicably and at a lower cost. If you are interested in knowing more about our mediation services, contact the firm to discuss your situation.

“This firm and it's team are the best out there, hands down. Robyn Ross helped me through a difficult time. Something that should have been...”

– Nestor –

“Robyn navigated me through a difficult period and explained every piece of the process in great detail along the way. I know in the end...”

– Clarissa –

“Robyn Ross handled my two cases and won both, her passion and expertise was beyond a 5-star rating. She communicated with me through both cases...”

– Abdul –

“Liz represented me throughout a long and difficult divorce process. She was a godsend. Her knowledge, compassion, dedication, and commitment are unparalleled. I can not...”

– Peter –

“The hardest part of going through a divorce or separation is the children. I’m so thankful that I had this firm represent my case. Ross...”

– Paula –

“This is a great counsel team. Very knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. They also make you feel like you are their only client, very attentive!”

– Bettyna J. –

“This firm and it's team are the best out there, hands down. Robyn Ross helped me through a difficult time. Something that should have been...”

– Nestor –

“Robyn navigated me through a difficult period and explained every piece of the process in great detail along the way. I know in the end...”

– Clarissa –

“Robyn Ross handled my two cases and won both, her passion and expertise was beyond a 5-star rating. She communicated with me through both cases...”

– Abdul –

“Liz represented me throughout a long and difficult divorce process. She was a godsend. Her knowledge, compassion, dedication, and commitment are unparalleled. I can not...”

– Peter –

“The hardest part of going through a divorce or separation is the children. I’m so thankful that I had this firm represent my case. Ross...”

– Paula –

“This is a great counsel team. Very knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. They also make you feel like you are their only client, very attentive!”

– Bettyna J. –

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