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Category: Lawyer

What Happens If I Don’t Sign The Divorce Papers?

Divorce can be a challenging time in your life. This is particularly true if the decision to split up isn’t yours. It’s easy to want to avoid talking about divorce or thinking about the process, at all. You may even want to ignore the divorce papers that you’ve been served. The divorce can’t happen if you don’t sign on the dotted line, right?

Not necessarily. Ignoring the fact that your spouse has filed a petition for divorce may delay the process, but it won’t necessarily stop it from happening. In fact, putting the papers aside could actually do much more harm than good. It’s always best to be involved in your divorce, even if you’re not happy about the split.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

There are two parties in a divorce. The spouse that files for divorce is known as the petitioner. The spouse that is served with divorce papers is known as the respondent. How a divorce will unfold will depend on how the respondent reacts after they’ve been served.

Contested Divorce: A divorce is contested when the respondent doesn’t agree with all or some of the terms of the split. This may include issues with how property is divided, who gets custody of the kids, and spousal support obligations. As the respondent, you have to make it very clear that you contest the divorce. The best way to do this is by filing an answer to the divorce papers with the court. Filing your answer will classify your case as a contested divorce.

Uncontested divorce: A divorce is uncontested when either (a) the respondent doesn’t sign or respond to the divorce papers, or (b) the respondent agrees to all of the terms without issue. When a divorce is uncontested, you lose the right to negotiate for terms that you believe are in your best interest.

Why Should I Sign the Divorce Papers?

Divorces are complicated. This is true even if you’ve only been married for a short period of time. Why? A judge will want to see that you’ve fully addressed certain issues that impact your split. These issues, known as the “terms” of your divorce, include:

  • Property division and allocation
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony, and more.

The spouse that files for divorce outlines how they would like these issues to be resolved. In some cases, these terms will be fair to both spouses. In other cases, the petitioning spouse may try to secure terms that are much more favorable to them. They may ask for sole custody of the kids, demand ownership of the property you value most and request expensive financial support. The only way to negotiate terms to your liking is by responding to the divorce papers.

You typically have 30 days to respond to divorce papers. A judge can issue what is known as a default judgment if you fail to do so. A default judgment means that the terms proposed by your spouse will be accepted. You’ll lose the opportunity to fight for terms that are more favorable to you. The divorce will be finalized despite your efforts to make it stop. For a free consultation, visit us at

What To Look For In A Divorce Lawyer

If you are seeking separation for your spouse, you will also be seeking an experienced divorce lawyer. Hiring the right lawyer can make the entire process smoother ad stress-free. Contact our office today to arrange a free consultation. Here is what to look for in a divorce lawyer.

You’ll want a trustworthy divorce lawyer on your side, but beyond that, what you should look for in a lawyer depends mostly on what you value and what you want to get out of the divorce.

If you expect to fight every step of the way – and if you’re keen on fighting back, and don’t care much for compromising – then you should get a notorious battler.

In most cases, though, you’ll probably want a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable. Do you feel assured that your lawyer is listening to you, and using your best interests to navigate? Will you get the lawyer you pick and pay for, or will that attorney hand you off to others in his or her firm after the consultation? You want some who can foresee problems and possibilities you wouldn’t – you also want someone with a reputation for creative, innovative solutions to the knotty problems of asset division, alimony, and child custody and support. You’ll want a lawyer who can give you peace of mind and fight for a fair and equitable outcome for you and your children.

In your first consultation, your lawyer should be able to help you get a feel for the cost and timeline of divorce. You should start asking questions about strategy right away. What are the advantages of litigation versus mediation in your case?  What percentage of that attorney’s cases go to trial? Is your lawyer amenable to sitting down with your spouse and his or her attorney and having a settlement conference in the office? Be open about whatever is on your mind. No two divorce cases are the same: you want to know your lawyer is listening to you, and ready to come up with creative solutions to meet your needs.

If you are considering divorce, or have been served divorce papers, you need legal counsel that works diligently to protect your best interests, Kristen S. Simpson can provide the assertive get compassionate support you need to move forward with your life as quickly and easily as possible. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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