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What happens if one spouse does not sign the divorce papers?

Divorce has many challenges. Those difficulties will only compound if one spouse does not want to sign the proper paperwork. 

California has recently passed new laws, some of which will make the divorce process simpler. However, many spouses believe they cannot get much further until the other spouse has responded to the divorce order. While it certainly makes things easier if everyone is on board, spouses do have options if their partner drags his or her feet. 

A judge wants to see spouses agree on several issues

Before a couple goes to court, a judge will want the spouses to have agreed on some pertinent issues already. If they can agree on an amicable division of assets, then the divorce process will go by much more smoothly. Some of these most important factors include alimony, child support, child custody and property division. 

Most of the time, the spouse who files divorce will provide a basic outline of how he or she wants to handle all this. In some cases, this will be made much easier because a prenuptial agreement exists. 

A response within 30 days

A spouse generally has 30 days to respond to divorce papers upon receiving them. In the event the spouse does not respond on time, then a judge will issue a default judgment. This means the divorce will proceed, and the court will abide by the terms the other spouse set forth. If the spouse asked for sole child custody, then that is most likely what will occur. The other spouse loses the right to fight for better terms. 

A contested divorce

It is possible for a divorce to drag on for an extended period if one spouse contests the terms of the divorce. In this case, both parties will need to go to court to present their cases. Ultimately, the judge will decide how to divide assets in this case. 

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