What happens when you want a divorce and your spouse refuses to sign the relevant paperwork in Douglasville, GA? Can your spouse prevent you from obtaining a divorce? If you are facing this situation, here is what you need to know from a Douglasville divorce lawyer.
What Is the Divorce Process in Douglasville, GA?
The divorce process in Georgia begins when a spouse files a petition for divorce with the Superior Court. You must serve the divorce papers on your spouse. Your spouse has the right to file a response.
If your spouse does not file an answer or other response by the filing deadline, they are considered in default. Your attorney files a motion or default judgment, and the court schedules a hearing. At the hearing, your attorney presents evidence proving your spouse received the divorce papers but failed to respond.
The judge must be satisfied that your spouse received the divorce papers and knows about the proceedings. If so, the judge may grant a default divorce decree based on your petition. Without evidence to the contrary, the judge should grant you the relief you requested in your petition.
Why Would a Spouse Refuse To Sign Divorce Papers in Georgia?
Your spouse might have one or more reasons for not signing the divorce papers. Regardless of your spouse’s reason for not signing the divorce papers, it will not prevent the proceedings from occurring. Eventually, you will be able to get a divorce.
Some common reasons spouses refuse to sign divorce papers include:
Spite or Anger
Your spouse might be angry with you. Therefore, they want to make it as difficult and costly as possible or you to obtain the divorce. They might want to prevent you from moving on without them, so they try to maintain the marriage for as long as possible.
Denial of the Truth
A spouse might not be willing to accept that the relationship is over. If they sign the divorce papers, they feel they are admitting defeat. Instead, they delay the inevitable, hoping they can change your mind about the divorce.
Some spouses might mistakenly believe that not signing the divorce papers gives them more power in the divorce proceedings. Your spouse could believe that you will agree to better divorce terms if they hold signing the papers over you. In reality, they are only making it worse for themselves.
They Have Something To Hide
Your spouse might be hiding income or assets they do not want subject to asset division or alimony. They might be guilty of adultery or other conduct they do not want to be brought up in a court proceeding.
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, tell your lawyer. Instead of seeking a default divorce decree, your attorney may need another strategy to ensure you receive a fair share of the marital assets.
Bargaining for More Time
Some spouses are not ready to admit the marriage is over. Therefore, they may not sign the divorce papers to bargain for time. Your spouse might suggest you go to marriage counseling or negotiate a separation agreement instead of proceeding with the divorce.
Can My Spouse Stop a Divorce in Georgia by Claiming They Don’t Want a Divorce?
If a spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers because they do not want a divorce, there is no need to worry. Georgia has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. The fault grounds include:
- Cruelty and abuse
- Substance abuse (i.e., alcoholism or drug addiction)
- Abandonment or desertion
- Impotence at the time of the marriage
- Use of fraud or coercion to marry
- Serving more than two years in prison for a criminal conviction
- Pregnancy by another man
- Forced or tricked into marriage
The petitioner must prove that the other spouse is guilty of the wrongdoing and it caused the breakup of the marriage. Because fault grounds can be difficult and costly to prove, many people file for a no-fault divorce.
Georgia’s no-fault divorce requires one spouse to swear that the marriage is irretrievably broken because of irreconcilable differences. The other spouse does not need to concede that the marriage cannot be saved. Even if the other spouse does not want the divorce, the court can grant the divorce on the petitioner’s statement that there is no chance of reconciliation.
If you are concerned your spouse might try to stop your divorce or cause problems, talk with a Douglasville divorce lawyer. An attorney can review your case and explain your legal rights during an initial consultation.
Contact the Georgia Family Law Firm of Bardley McKnight Law for Help Today
We proudly serve Douglas County and its surrounding areas:
Law Firm of Bardley McKnight Law Offices
12461 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Suite 470
Douglasville, GA 30134