If you do not respond to a divorce petition, the court will enter a default judgment in favor of your spouse, and if you do not sign the divorce decree, your divorce will become contested, meaning that the court will need to hold a hearing before the divorce can become final.
Ignoring papers related to your divorce will not make the divorce case go away. Your spouse still has the right to divorce you even if you do not sign the divorce petition, divorce decree, or other legal documents related to the divorce case.
In fact, refusal to sign always backfires; it always results either in the divorce taking longer or in the spouse who refused to sign not getting what they want in terms of equitable distribution of marital property. Even if you are determined to save your marriage after your spouse has filed for divorce, you should consult the Fort Worth divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker.
What is Default Divorce?
When one spouse files for divorce, they must formally serve the other spouse with a copy of the divorce petition, where they outline their requests for division of marital property and, in the case of couples with minor children, parenting time. The non-filing spouse has a certain amount of time after being served with papers to file a response to the petition, stating their own requests.
If the non-filing spouse does not file a response by the deadline, or if the non-filing spouse evades all attempts to be served with divorce papers, the court enters a default judgment in favor of the non-filing spouse. In layman’s terms, this means that, if you do not file a response to your spouse’s divorce petition, your spouse gets all the money and parenting time they ask for.
When One Spouse Refuses to Sign the Divorce Decree
Likewise, refusing to sign the divorce decree once your divorce case makes it to that stage will not stop your spouse from divorcing you or getting their share of marital property. Instead, if you are in the midst of an uncontested divorce and then you refuse to sign the divorce decree, your divorce will become contested, which means that there will need to be at least one hearing before the judge can finalize the divorce.
How to Stop a Divorce Case Once it Has Started
Of course, couples can and do reconcile after their cases have gotten to the divorce petition stage, or even farther. If the court has already started the process of dissolving your marriage, but you and your spouse decide that you want to stay married, it is possible to withdraw your divorce petition at any stage until the court has finalized your divorce.
If you reconcile with your spouse after your divorce has been finalized, you will need to get legally married to each other again in order for the law to recognize your marriage.
Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Unwanted Divorce
A family law attorney can help you make the best legal decisions if your spouse has filed for divorce, even though you do not wish to end the marriage. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss your case.