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When Your Spouse Will Not Sign Divorce Papers

Posted on in Divorce

Barrington divorce attorney missing spouseSometimes, when someone chooses to get a divorce, their spouse refuses to agree to the dissolution of their marriage. This may be due to denial or an attempt to control a spouse in the case of domestic abuse, or, in some cases, the couple may have separated, and a spouse cannot be located. If your spouse is refusing to cooperate in your divorce case, you should be sure to understand your legal options.

Irreconcilable Differences

In Illinois, irreconcilable differences are the only recognized grounds for divorce. This means that the couple is not able to solve the issues in their marriage. It is considered a no-fault ground for divorce, which means that neither spouse is to blame for the deterioration of the marriage. If a couple lives separately for at least six months, this is a presumption of irreconcilable differences.  

Some common reasons a spouse may refuse to agree to a divorce include:

  • Denial - The divorce process brings up emotions on both sides. Your reasons for wanting a divorce are valid, but they may be hard for your spouse to understand. They may feel rejected, and they may wish to try to work things out before signing divorce papers. It is important to be patient and compassionate about their feelings, but you also have the right to end your marriage for whatever reasons you may choose. In order to make the divorce process proceed more smoothly, you may wish to give your spouse some time to sit with the idea of ending the marriage. They may know about the issues, but the prompt of divorce can still be a shock.
  • Domestic Abuse - Women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse, but anyone who has an abusive partner has a good reason to end their marriage. When bringing up divorce to an abusive spouse, you can protect yourself by enlisting a neutral third party to be present during the conversation. Even then, you cannot force your spouse to sign divorce papers, and an abusive spouse may attempt to use threats or intimidation tactics to try to make you stay in the marriage. Be sure to seek protection if you believe you or your children are in danger, and discuss your legal options with an attorney.
  • Missing in Action - If one spouse wishes to end their marriage, but the other spouse cannot be found, it is still possible to obtain a divorce. In this case, the spouse will be served with a legal notice in a newspaper. This can only be done if the person wishing for a divorce can prove that they have made a fair effort to find their spouse. Decisions regarding issues such as child support or the division of property cannot be made by a judge at this time, and these issues can be contested once your partner is found. A county clerk, with the help of an attorney, can assist with placing a legal notice. 

Contact a Palatine Divorce Lawyer

If your spouse is reluctant to agree to a divorce, you do not have to remain stuck in your marriage. An experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney can explain your options and advocate for your best interests as you pursue divorce. Call our office at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/5-things-to-do-if-you-wan_b_5983080

https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

Chicago Bar Association DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association
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