What Happens If My Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers?
When your partner does not sign divorce papers, what happens next will depend on the details of your situation – and, more specifically, whether your partner can be located and/or whether your partner contests the divorce.
In some cases, divorce papers won’t be signed because a partner moves and cannot be tracked down. When this occurs (and when reasonable efforts to track down the person are unsuccessful), a request can be made to a family court judge to publish the Summons in an effort to notify the Defendant (i.e., the spouse who cannot be located) about the impending divorce action.
This publication can occur in any “newspaper of general circulation,” according to the Clark County Courts, and the notice must be published at least once a week for a minimum of four weeks.
If no response to the publication occurs (i.e., the Defendant never responds), the court can issue a Default, meaning that the Defendant does not object to the divorce based on the lack of response.
If a spouse can be located and (s)he refuses to sign the divorce papers, then:
- That spouse will have to be served with a Complaint for Divorce, which will provide 21 days for that spouse to respond to the complaint (these are consecutive calendar days, not business days).
- If the spouse responds (i.e., “answers” the complaint or files a counterclaim), the divorce will be a contested matter.
- The court will then usually schedule a case management conference to give divorcing parties the opportunity to try to resolve the issues of their divorce without a trial.
- If the case management conference cannot resolve the issues of the divorce, a trial will be scheduled for the case.