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What if My Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers?

Posted in Divorce, Family Law on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021


One way divorce differs from other legal matters is that it involves the breakup of a  personal relationship. Even on the best of days, those don’t usually go very well. With a divorce, you have assets and money, children, and arguments. The divorce attorneys at Sabuco Beck, P.C. deal with this every day and offer compassionate and effective legal advice and representation. 

As is the case with many breakups, one party may not want the relationship to end or wants to slow things down and try to work it out. That may lead a spouse to refuse to sign the paperwork. Fortunately, there is a legal procedure that allows people to proceed with divorce in the event that their spouse won’t sign the paperwork.

Here’s what to do if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers.


Relax and prepare for the divorce anyway. If you don’t already have an attorney, get one. You aren’t required to have the consent of the other party to divorce in Illinois. You will now be preparing for a contested divorce, which is very common. 

Determine Fault

You are not required to prove fault or grounds for divorce in Illinois. But it may help if you are dealing with someone who will not sign or respond to paperwork. This is especially true if someone is unwilling to attend court or deal with the matter responsibly.

If your spouse does not want to sign the papers, they may not even appear for proceedings or conferences. That doesn’t always happen, but it can when you least expect it. In this case, you will be more likely to get what you want in court.

Contact our family law team at Sabuco Beck for help in determining grounds for your family law case.

Wait for the Court Date

The first court date will set the tone for your divorce, especially if someone refuses to sign any of the paperwork. They may not show up at all. The first date in a divorce matter is usually procedural. The court will want to make sure that everything has been filed and filed properly. The big issues will be looked at and scheduled for another date.

If your spouse is still refusing to participate, you may be permitted to proceed with an uncontested divorce. This could wind up being a much faster process than it would be if your spouse were arguing everything you filed with the court.

The End Game

When a matter goes uncontested, your attorney will file a motion to wrap the matter up. If your spouse won’t even file a response with the court or appear, you will now have grounds to finish the divorce on your own. At this time, your attorney will file a motion for default judgment. A date to appear in court is set again, and your spouse will be asked to attend. If they don’t show, a judge will make a ruling on what is available in court.

Don’t Wait to File for Divorce

It doesn’t matter how the other party feels about an ugly divorce if the relationship is over. If they refuse to sign papers, that can’t stop you from getting a divorce.

Don’t wait to move on with your life. Today, contact us online at Sabuco Beck, P.C. We’ve been dealing with parties like this in divorce for years. We are available by phone or video conferencing to help you deal with the difficulties of challenging parties in family law.

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