How To Get a Divorce If My Spouse Won’t Sign the Papers

Filing for divorce isn’t something that you do on a whim. It takes a long time and a lot of soul searching to come to the conclusion that the marriage can’t survive. Along the way you likely envisioned what each step would entail, imagining the process and how it would play out. One thing you might not have anticipated — or maybe you did — was your spouse refusing to cooperate. If you’ve filed all the papers, only to find that your spouse won’t sign off, here’s what you need to know.

Divorce is never easy, but the process certainly flows more smoothly when both people agree that their marriage is broken. Whether your spouse is simply trying to make things harder or they are truly having a hard time coming to terms with the idea, you can still get divorced without them signing off. It’s just going to take a bit longer. That’s because Pennsylvania provides two ways of obtaining a no-fault divorce: mutual consent and divorce after a year of having been separated.

While mutual consent allows couples to get divorced as quickly as 90 days, the divorce after separation option provides the ability to point to a specific separation date. One year after that date you can move forward with the divorce proceedings, even if your spouse continues to refuse to sign.

If your situation requires more aggressive action, you may need to turn to a fault divorce, but doing so requires proving at least one of the following requirements:

  • Malicious desertion for a year or more
  • Made your life “intolerable and burdensome”
  • Imprisonment for two or more years after having been committed of a crime
  • Bigamy
  • Adultery
  • “Cruel and barbarous” treatment that endangered your health or life

It can be enormously frustrating to deal with a spouse who is unwilling to sign divorce papers. You may have needed to gather tremendous courage to file for divorce, or you may be anxious to move forward to a new future. Though the idea of waiting for a year may make pursuing a fault-based divorce seem appealing, there are a lot of reasons why it is rarely done, and best discussed with an experienced divorce attorney. For more information and guidance, contact our firm today to set up a time to discuss your situation.