divorceEven the most agreeable couples’ divorces can get contentious when it comes to discussions of money and child custody, but most divorces are uncontested. This means that both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage. But what happens if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers?

In New Jersey, if one spouse becomes nonresponsive and fails to answer the complaint or show up for court, the other can file for a default judgment of divorce. This means the spouse who wants the divorce follows a legal procedure for serving the divorce papers to their spouse, then waits a required period of 35 days, after which they have 60 days to ask the judge to give them a default divorce.

This process can be complicated. A hearing still needs to be held, and the spouse requesting the default process has to notify the noncompliant spouse of the hearing date and provide them with a proposal for the final terms of the divorce. They may also have to ask the court for input on child support, custody and equitable distribution of property. If the unresponsive souse doesn’t appear, the judge will usually grant the default, but if they do show up and object, the judge may vacate the default process and set a new date for the proceedings to continue.

This process is not just available for situations where one spouse is uncooperative: many use it in order to save money on court filings and attorney representation, though this is not recommended unless you already have a settlement agreement in place for which both spouses have had the benefit of legal advice.

If you’re divorcing in Pennsylvania, there’s a statutory period of separation that must elapse for a divorce to be complete. That period of separation was two years before December 2016, but for divorces filed after that date the period is now one year. All economic claims must be satisfied, and the period of separation must have passed, after which the filing spouse can send an Affidavit and Counter-Affidavit to the noncompliant spouse to give them the opportunity to object. Their objection can only be based on the statutory period not having been satisfied or economic claims not having been addressed. Without a Counter-Affidavit being filed within 20 days of service of the Affidavit, the divorce will be granted.

If you are facing a contentious divorce, and need legal help, contact our office today to set up an appointment with one of our understanding attorneys.

$600 Premium No Fault Divorce
$600 Premium No Fault Divorce
Free Bankruptcy Evaluation Button
Free Bankruptcy Evaluation Button
Call Today Button
Call Today Button
Sign Up For Our Mailing List Button
Sign Up For Our Mailing List Button