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What Happens If I Refuse to Sign Divorce Papers?

Even the most amicable divorces are emotionally turbulent. Couples do not always agree about the facts or terms of a divorce. In some cases, only one partner believes that the marriage should end. If the other spouse wants to continue working on the marriage, they may resist the divorce. Some people believe that refusing to sign divorce papers can stop legal proceedings. But in the state of Michigan, a divorce can proceed even if you refuse to sign the relevant paperwork.

So long as one partner wants a divorce, the other cannot prevent the process from moving forward. Below, we will discuss some issues that may arise if you refuse to sign divorce papers.

Required Signatures in Michigan Divorces

In a Michigan divorce, there are many types of legal paperwork that require the spouses’ signatures. However, there is a predetermined process for how to proceed when a spouse refuses to cooperate.

To begin the divorce, the initiating partner’s attorney will file a divorce complaint through the circuit court system. This will include proposed terms of the divorce, such as:

  • Child custody preferences
  • Division of assets
  • Property ownership preferences
  • Financial arrangements
  • And more

A skilled divorce attorney will help the filing spouse to determine their preferred terms. Following this, the divorce complaint and a court summons will be presented to the other spouse.

Refusing to Sign the Divorce Complaint

At this point in the process, many people believe they can halt the divorce proceedings by refusing to sign the divorce complaint document. This view is mistaken. If one spouse refuses to cooperate, the divorce complaint can still be delivered to the court with no signature.

In fact, failing to sign the paperwork and contest any of the terms may result in a default judgment. If you have been presented with divorce paperwork, you have between 21 and 28 days to deliver a response.

Failing to do so may result in the court granting all of your spouse’s preferred divorce terms. The divorce process will not be finalized until the appropriate waiting period is over, however.

If no children are involved in the marriage, there is a necessary 60-day waiting period. For marriages involving children, the waiting period consists of 180 days or six months.

Even if you refuse to sign the required paperwork, a judge can finalize the divorce by signing a divorce decree. This document is also called a “divorce settlement.”  The divorce decree outlines the specific legal terms and conditions of the Michigan divorce. Failing to cooperate with the process may result in your spouse determining the terms of the divorce.  As long as the proposed terms are legal under Michigan state law, the courts may comply. That is why it is vital to secure the services of a skilled Michigan family law attorney.

Contact Gucciardo Family Law

If you are facing the prospect of divorce, it can be overwhelming. The skilled team at Gucciardo Family Law can help.  We have years of experience fighting for the best interests of our clients and helping families through difficult times. For a free, no-obligation legal consultation, reach out to Gucciardo Family Law today.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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