Divorce is a difficult and often painful process, and when one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, it can make things even more complicated. In California, if one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, they may delay the divorce proceedings. However, in the end, they may actually end up paying the ultimate price as the recipient of a default divorce, one where they have little say in the process.

The Divorce Process in California

To get a divorce in California, one spouse must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with their local court. You must meet several requirements before doing so, like having lived in California for at least six months and in the county where you’re getting a divorce for at least three months. Either spouse may satisfy this requirement.

Once the divorce petition has been filed, the other spouse needs to be served. This often occurs by hiring a private process server who can deliver the divorce petition plus the court summons. The summons provides instructions for your spouse on how they should respond, though it doesn’t provide any legal advice.

Crucially, the summons clearly describes how much time your spouse has to respond to your divorce petition. In California, that time is 30 days from the date they receive the summons and petition. If they don’t respond in that timeframe, you can request a default divorce from the court.

Default Divorce in California

A default divorce happens when one spouse doesn’t respond within the 30-day window, ultimately hurting themselves. While this may delay the divorce process slightly, as the judge will want evidence that your spouse has received the information and willingly decided not to reply, their failure to reply to the divorce petition can actually make your life easier.

A default divorce isn’t as contentious because only one spouse is involved. By not replying, your spouse has essentially waived their right to participate in the divorce process. This means that the judge may agree with the dissolution terms in your petition, granting you the requested marital assets plus your requests for alimony and child support.

While a default divorce avoids time-consuming court proceedings and trial, you may still have to go to court for a brief meeting with the judge. At this hearing, they’ll ask you a few questions and may request evidence that your spouse has received the divorce petition but has not replied. If they are appeased, they’ll grant your divorce, and your marriage will officially end.

Speak With a San Diego Family Law Attorney If Your Spouse Refuses To Sign Divorce Papers

A spouse who refuses to sign divorce papers may only make their life more difficult. To help you navigate this complex process, you need to speak with an experienced and trusted family law attorney in San Diego, California. 

Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108