What to Do When Your Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers

Divorce is an emotional process, but it can be even more complicated when only one partner wants to get out of the marriage. In addition to paperwork involving custody, assets and other commingled property, the start of the divorce process is often sending a settlement proposal to the other side. But what do you do when one partner won’t sign an agreement? Below, the experienced divorce attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss some of the options you have when your spouse won’t cooperate.


Do Both Spouses Have to Agree to the Divorce?

Coming to the decision to end your marriage is already difficult, but when your spouse doesn’t agree to the separation it can be helpful to understand your options. If you have exhausted all options for an amicable resolution, the first step is likely to file a complaint for divorce. 


Can I Get a Divorce Without My Partner Knowing?

You can file for divorce without notifying your spouse but they must be served in order to proceed. It is not possible to get a secret divorce or go behind your partner’s back to complete a divorce without first exhausting all notification and service requirements. Both parties must at least be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings.


What If I Can’t Find My Spouse to Serve Divorce Papers?

Divorce complaints can be served by certified mail, in person, or through a third-party. If the other party is served in Maryland they have 30 days to respond. If the other party is served in the United States but outside the state of Maryland they have 60 days to respond. An opposing party served in another country has 90 days to respond. 


If your spouse does not respond within the legally given time period, you may file request for an order of default. The court will then set a hearing date if the other party does not file a motion to vacate the default and send notice to your spouse. At the in-person hearing, a judge or magistrate will review the paperwork that you have filed, take testimony and weigh any evidence submitted then issue a ruling.


How Do You Determine How to Divide Property?

Marital property in Maryland consists of many categories of items, including houses, cars, furniture, appliances, stocks, bonds, jewelry, bank accounts, pensions, traditional retirement plans, and IRA’s. Regardless of who purchased the property, if it was “acquired” during the marriage, it is usually considered marital property. Any property acquired before the marriage is usually considered non-marital property. If you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree upon how to separate your assets, the court will determine how your assets will be divided. If you have concerns about marital and non-marital property, it’s important to speak with an attorney, such as the divorce attorneys at Rodier Family Law, so they can provide you legal guidance. 


If you have a prenuptial agreement you should have it reviewed by an attorney to confirm that it is still valid as the terms of your prenuptial agreement may significantly impact the division of marital assets.


Speak to An Experienced Divorce Attorney At Rodier Family Law 

The divorce process can be a tumultuous and emotional time, and the added stress can cause you to overlook important aspects in your divorce. At Rodier Family Law, we don’t want you to overlook these decisions and important matters that can affect your future long after the divorce is finalized. If you are considering divorce and don’t know how to get the process started, contact our office to schedule a one-hour consultation and speak to an experienced attorney by calling us at (410) 803-1839.