Not all divorces are settled in court, but the ones that do go to trial are often a result of one spouse refusing to sign divorce papers. In this scenario, the spouse that is trying to get divorced will have to go and get what is known as a contested divorce. By filing a contested divorce, the divorce-seeking spouse will take their petition to the family court that has jurisdiction over their marriage.

In a contested divorce, the only signature necessary is from the spouse who is filing for the divorce. That being said, a formal notice to the other spouse via serving of papers is necessary as well, because, under the law, they have the right to be properly notified and to have the chance to appear in court.

We often see a refusal to sign divorce papers when the seeker is filing a fault divorce, which is understandable because the language and verbiage used is such that it usually puts the non-filing party in a pretty bad light. Therefore, there aren’t many people that would sign a document saying they are a “cheating spouse with no moral values, who steals and lies, etc.”, virtually admitting that all these accusations are all true. The reason this kind of language is used in a fault divorce is that the divorce-seeking spouse is also most likely seeking marital property and assets, and these types of allegations can often be deciding factors in how the court divides assets, especially if they turn out to be true.

So again, no spouse, who has their self-interests in mind, would sign such a document from the seeker. Instead, he or she would claim that they are “not comfortable with” or “don’t agree with” the accusations made. And therefore, they are much more likely to see a no-fault divorce option, which allows you to get divorced under nothing more than “irreconcilable differences”, and, as the name suggests, does not place blame on an individual spouse.