Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, even in the most amicable of circumstances. However, not all circumstances are amicable. The situation can become even more charged and challenging if a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers.

Should you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps you can take.

Why a Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers

It is essential to understand why your spouse is refusing to sign the divorce papers. If you can identify the reasons behind their refusal, you may be able to address those concerns and reach a resolution more quickly.

For example, if your spouse is concerned about their financial future after the divorce, you may be able to offer them a more favorable settlement agreement.

Consult with an Attorney

It is important to have legal representation during a divorce, especially if your spouse is refusing to sign the papers.

An experienced attorney will help you navigate the legal process, advising you on your rights and responsibilities. They can also help you determine the best course of action if your spouse continues to refuse to sign.

File a Petition for Divorce

You can still move forward with the divorce by filing a petition for divorce, even if your spouse refuses to sign. The court will serve your spouse with the petition, and they will have a certain amount of time to respond.

If they fail to respond within the specified time, the court may proceed with the divorce without their signature.

Consider Mediation

Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps you and your spouse work through any disagreements and come to a mutually acceptable resolution. A mediator can help you and your spouse identify and address any underlying issues that may be causing them to refuse to sign the divorce papers.

Mediation can be a more cost-effective and less contentious option than a contested divorce, and it may help you reach a resolution more quickly.

Request a Default Judgment

If your spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition or fails to appear in court, you can request a default judgment. This means that the court will grant the divorce without your spouse’s signature.

However, it is important to remember that a default judgment may not be in your best interests and could result in an unfair settlement. It is best to consult with an attorney before pursuing this option.

Ask the Court to Enforce Your Agreement

If you already filed your divorce petition, and your spouse agreed to the settlement but refused to sign the divorce papers, you may file a motion to enforce the agreement.   You would need to prove to the Court that you and your spouse came to an agreement.  You should consider hiring an attorney before filing that motion.


It is important to keep in mind that each divorce is unique, and what works for one couple may not work for another. It is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the divorce process and help you understand your options.

With patience, persistence, and the right legal counsel, you can navigate a divorce, even if your spouse is refusing to sign the papers.

In conclusion, if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, it is essential to remain calm and focused. Remember that divorce is a process, and it can take time to reach a resolution.

By understanding your options and working with an experienced attorney, you can navigate the divorce process and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

If you have questions about the divorce process, reach out to Bruce Galloway Law Offices. We can help you navigate the ins and outs of divorce and find the settlement that best suits you and your needs.  We also will mediate your divorce.