If you have filed for divorce in Michigan but your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, you may be concerned that you are facing a lengthy case that could drag on for years if your spouse will not sign the divorce papers and allow the case to proceed. Yet it is important to understand that your spouse does not have the ability to prevent you from getting a divorce simply because that spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. While there are many misconceptions that exist, including those perpetrated by television shows and movies in which one spouse cannot get a divorce because the other will not sign the papers, such a scenario is not the reality in Michigan. Instead, Michigan law has a process for divorce cases that allows a divorce to move forward even when the other spouse refuses to be part of the process.
When you are in this type of situation, or if you are anticipating a scenario in which your spouse will not sign the divorce papers, the following are the steps you should take to ensure that your divorce can ultimately be finalized.
You Do Not Need Your Spouse’s Consent for a Divorce
Under Michigan law, as we noted above, you do not need your spouse to agree to a divorce. As such, the first step if your spouse says she or he will not sign divorce papers is to recognize that you do not need your spouse’s consent in order to get divorced. To be sure, with assistance from an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer, your divorce case can go forward even if your spouse will not consent.
Begin Working with a Michigan Divorce Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Once you recognize that you do not need your spouse’s consent to get divorced, it is essential to hire an experienced Michigan divorce attorney to assist you with your case. Although you do not need your spouse to sign divorce papers in order to get divorced, the process can become extremely complicated without assistance from a lawyer. One of the Michigan divorce attorneys at our firm can help.
Learn More About How the Michigan Divorce Process Works
The next step is to learn more about how the Michigan divorce process works so that you can be prepared when your spouse will not sign divorce papers. When you file for a no-fault divorce in Michigan, your spouse is served with the divorce complaint. According to Michigan law, your spouse will have 21 days from the date of service to respond (i.e., to file an “answer”) if the divorce papers were served in person, or 28 days from the date of service if the divorce papers were mailed. If your spouse does not file an answer within the time window allowed by Michigan law, you can ask the court to enter a default divorce judgment.
If your spouse does file an answer, you can work with your divorce attorney to show that the waiting period and other divorce requirements have been met and that your divorce should be granted. The waiting period is typically 60 days from the date of filing if you do not have minor children from your marriage, or 180 days from the date of filing if you do.
Contact Our Divorce Lawyers in Michigan
If your spouse will not sign divorce papers, a Michigan divorce attorney can help you to finalize your divorce. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today.