What Happens If Your Spouse Refuses Divorce?

Divorces are hard to deal with on their own, but you know what’s even harder? When your spouse isn’t cooperating during this tedious process. A lot of the time, there are cases in which one spouse serves the divorce papers to the other and they refuse to sign them. Other than getting advice from your divorce attorney, here is what you can do if your spouse doesn’t cooperate with you or refuses divorce.

Possible Scenarios

Here are some possible scenarios in which a spouse doesn’t cooperate when going through with the divorce complaint.

Your Spouse Doesn’t Acknowledge The Serving Of Papers

Divorce proceedings usually begin with you filing a complaint in court. This is the very first step to filing for divorce. You will be asked for grounds on which the divorce is being finalized and then a set of papers will be sent to your spouse in order to make them aware that you’re filing for a divorce. Now, in most cases, when these papers are served to your spouse, they have a specific time period in which they have to respond back, either to proceed further or to challenge this petition in court. Now, this is where things can take a messy turn.

A lot of the time, the spouse who has been served these papers, will refuse to sign them and will not acknowledge your petition and they will try their best to drain you emotionally and financially. There can be a lot of reasons for that. Your spouse might not want to let you go, or there might be an underlying tone of voice in their actions and they just want to mess with you further.

This can really put a toll on you and not to mention, it can also delay the divorce process and you know what delays mean in the realm of law. More hefty fees will have to be paid for the proceedings to continue, and if you’re suffering financially, then it’s a very bad idea.

No Response To Your Complaint

Another thing that your spouse can do is refuse to acknowledge the petition and challenge your claim in court. This mainly happens because one person doesn’t want to give the other the upper hand and they will try everything in their power to make sure that your claims are deemed false in the court.

This can be a bad look for you, so you need to play your cards right and make sure that you have good evidence to back up your claims of why you’re trying to separate from your partner.

They Go Missing

This might or might not be another thing your spouse is trying to do to mess with you. If your spouse is no longer in your life and you want to consider separation or divorce, then that’s another case. But, if your spouse deliberately chooses to vanish and not respond to your petition or complaints, then that can delay the divorce process as well.

It won’t mean that you can’t divorce your spouse. Rather, it means that you have to take a different route and proceed with the divorce in a different way, which is obviously a lot more time-consuming and it will cost you a lot as well.

They Won’t Sign The Papers

Let’s say your spouse is present and you have served them with divorce papers, but they refuse to sign them and let you out of this marriage. This can also be quite troublesome and exhausting for you. Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get divorced, just because your spouse isn’t signing the papers, but it’s not ideal either.

It’s better that the divorce proceedings go as smoothly as possible, without any unnecessary delays or problems, otherwise, things might just get more complicated, and even though you’ll get there, it can be hard to deal with.

What Can You Do If Your Spouse Doesn’t Cooperative In Divorce?

Here are some things that you can do if your spouse is refusing to divorce you.

Hire A Divorce Lawyer

If you’re trying to deal with things by yourself and not getting legal help from a family lawyer Fairfax VA, then you’re making a huge mistake. It’s better to have legal teams and guidance involved when you’re trying to go through a divorce with an uncooperative spouse.

Your lawyers will have a good idea of how to deal with this situation because they see these things on a regular basis and they have tactics that they can use to get the spouse to sign the papers.

Go For A Default Divorce

A default divorce is a great thing that you can go for if your spouse is not responding to your complaint or petition. In this divorce, the judge will give time to the other spouse to reach out and give their response to the divorce petition.

If they choose not to, then it will be deemed as a green signal to go forward with the divorce proceedings and whatever is mentioned in the petition, will be the divorce agreement. Most of the time, a default divorce is a good option to go for, because once the petition hurdle is passed, everything is done at record speed.

Contested Divorce Can Be An Option

A contested divorce is a type of divorce in which the parties are not coming to an agreement. Usually, when couples are complacent and friendly with each other, regarding the separation and division of things, the divorce which is proceeded is called an uncontested divorce.

A contested divorce will consist of legal meetings with lawyers and you will also have to take a stand in front of the judge and give them reasons why you want this divorce, while the other party can defend themselves. This divorce can take some time to wrap up.

You Can Give Reasons For Divorce

If there are very good reasons for why you want this divorce, then it might not matter whether your spouse responds or not. If you have been through an abusive marriage, have witnessed alcohol, drug, and substance abuse or there is an absence of basic rights in the marriage, then these are great reasons to give to the judge, in order to get out of this situation.

If you have evidence to support these claims, then that will build an even stronger case and your spouse will have no choice but to give in, and sign the papers, eventually.


These options are great to go for, especially if your spouse isn’t letting this matter go that easily. The most ideal situation would be to deal with this divorce in an amicable way, but it’s not always possible, which is why these options are present and you can use them. Keep in mind that these options might lead to delays in the divorce proceedings because there is a lot of work that needs to be done, behind the scenes, in order to grant divorce on the right lawful grounds. While you can’t expect a divorce to get finalized overnight, things will get better eventually.

Having an uncooperative spouse during a divorce period can really add to the stress, but luckily, there are ways with which it can be dealt with. The best way is to hire top rated divorce lawyers Fairfax VA.

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