Have you just been served divorce papers and wondering what the implications are if you sign?

Before you sign those papers, there are some things that you must know. Divorce isn’t easy, and signing a piece of paper doesn’t mean you can erase all the pain, heartache, and memories. A lot happens between the moment your spouse tells you they want a divorce to the moment you sign the papers.

In fact, signing divorce papers is actually the final stage which dissolves your union legally. So what are the things you need to know about signing divorce papers?

1. What If One Partner Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers? 

“Do both parties have to sign divorce papers?” is a common question asked by troubled couples seeking answers. Legally speaking, there are clear directions about what happens if you refuse to sign divorce papers. The issue reaches the court, and the reluctant partner will receive the divorce petition along with a schedule to appear before the court. If (s)he still doesn’t agree to sign, the case proceeds as a contested divorce. In that case, the judge demands an explanation for not signing the divorce papers.

In overtly religious communities, husbands may try to seek refuge in religious doctrine, but this doesn’t work in a court of law because state laws are not governed by religious beliefs. So if you’ve been worried about someone holding you captive because of religious beliefs, you’ll be happy to know that the law is impartial towards one’s religious convictions.

2. Is It Mandatory to See an Attorney Before Signing Divorce Papers?

If there is not a lot of property involved and you and your partner reach an agreement, then it may be alright to use your own judgment. Even then, it is better to get a lawyer review the divorce papers. If one of you has hired an attorney, but (s)he is reluctant to allow you to review the papers before you sign, then there is something they are trying to hide and you must see an attorney for your own sake.

Legally, it is not mandatory for both parties to see an attorney.

3. How Much Time Do I Have Before Signing the Divorce Papers?

“How long do I have to sign divorce papers?” is a popular question asked by those who’ve been served divorce papers. The time duration depends on the state law or the court’s procedure and scheduling. The available time may be a week, two weeks or even a month, mainly depending on the schedule of the court.

4. What If I Don’t Respond to the Petition? 

Often, people ask, “Do I have to sign divorce papers and try to escape the issue by not signing and responding to the petition, or by refusing to appear before the court?” This is not a smart idea because then, it becomes an uncontested case and the judge can declare the verdict.

Legally, you’ll receive a copy of the verdict, and you can also collect a copy from the court’s clerk.

5. What If I Don’t Sign the Papers After Appearing Before the Court?

Divorce papersAnother possible result if you refuse to sign the divorce papers is that the judge will make the decision after analyzing the arguments from both sides. The decision may favor any of the participants, depending on the legal complications and the judgment.

If you think that you’ll escape the situation by not signing the papers, then think again!

6. I Have Power of Attorney, Can I Sign for Him/Her?

Never! The law says that even if you have a valid power of attorney, it won’t do you any good when it comes to signing divorce papers.

7. What If My Signature on the Petition Is Forged?

You must contact an attorney in this case. If you don’t want to hire an attorney, you have the option of filing a motion in order to remove the signature, if you never signed it.

Get Legal Counsel Before Proceeding

If you’ve just received divorce papers, you may want to contact a lawyer so that you can discuss the terms and conditions stated in the papers. It’s imperative that you get as much legal counsel as you need, especially if there are children involved and you need spousal support and child maintenance fees.

Divorce is never easy on anyone, but armed with the right information, you can make it through the difficult process and move on with your life.

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