Divorcing can be a tough time for both partners involved, particularly if one of the spouses wasn’t expecting to be served with the papers. Because couples often find the situation stressful, angering, and sad, they can often lash out at one another in response. One of the ways people can do this is by refusing to accept the situation entirely. If one spouse decides to refuse to sign the divorce papers in order to prevent the separation from taking place, it could make their spouse’s situation more difficult. However, if you find yourself in this situation, it’s not impossible to complete the divorce.
If a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, depending on which state you’re in, this is called an uncontested divorce. In other states, it’s called a default divorce. Either way, a spouse’s refusal to sign the papers won’t prevent the divorce from taking place.
In North Carolina, the courts will grant divorces if the couple has lived apart for at least one year. After a year, either spouse can begin the divorce process by filing a complaint for divorce. Usually, this will be accompanied by an address of key issues, such as custody and property division. The copy of this complaint will be served along with a summons and other appropriate paperwork to the other spouse. The spouse has 30 days to file a response. If the spouse doesn’t want the divorce, he or she can respond with counterclaims, such as changing the terms of property division or demanding alimony. This will delay the divorce process but won’t stop it completely. Partners that can’t come to an agreement on their own or with a mediator will have their divorce issues decided by a judge.
If, however, a spouse completely fails to respond to a divorce complaint, it can still proceed without his or her input. The spouse who filed can ask the court to enter a default divorce by filing a Motion for Entry of Default. It has the same legal effect as a divorce where both spouses make an appearance with the court, but the terms are all decided by the spouse who originally filed the paperwork.
In South Carolina, after all possible attempts to contact your partner have failed, you can submit an affidavit of due diligence to inform the court you have made an effort to contact your wife or husband. At that point, service by publication can be run in the local newspaper for 30 days. If your spouse still doesn’t respond, the case can proceed.
Remember, your spouse can’t keep you from seeking a divorce. He or she could make the process more difficult, but you are not without options. Your best bet is to find an excellent Charlotte divorce attorney who can help you file the right paperwork and pursue legal actions in your North or South Carolina divorce. Krusch & Sellers, P.A. is committed to providing high standards of legal service. Our courteous, dedicated, and highly responsive team can offer candid advice to the people we represent so they can make educated decisions about their case. As a small firm, we can also provide clients with a level of personal service that is hard for larger firms to match. If you work with us, you will be more than just a file, you will be an individual our team will get to know. To get started on your divorce, contact us at (704) 343-8811 or fill out our online form to schedule your consultation.