What You Should Do if Your Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers in NJ

divorce papers new jersey

If you are encountering difficulties in your divorce, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Bergen County divorce attorneys to learn what you should do if your spouse will not sign divorce papers in NJ.

Can you still get a divorce if your spouse refuses to sign the papers in NJ?

First and foremost, you should reach out to one of our skilled Bergen County, NJ family law and divorce attorneys immediately. He or she can help you with drawing up the divorce papers and filing them with the court. Your divorce lawyer can also assist you with other matters related to your divorce and child custody. If your spouse refuses to sign them, you can ask the judge to grant you the option of proceeding as if the divorce is uncontested, or you can use a process server to deliver the paperwork to them at their home, work or other location, in order to obtain the required signature. Your spouse will then have roughly 35 days to respond to your petition. If they fail to do so, the court may grant you a default divorce in your favor.

How do you proceed if your spouse will not sign divorce papers in NJ?

New Jersey is one of the no-fault states, which means that the only ground required to file for divorce is irreconcilable differences. You can get a divorce even without your spouse’s consent. You only need to meet the Garden State’s residency requirement, i.e. you have lived in New Jersey for one year prior to filing for divorce.

As stated above, if your spouse does not respond, leading to a default divorce, the defendant/respondent will not have an opportunity to contest the merits of the case or raise possible defenses. Instead, the judge will make decisions without his or her input, such as:

  • Division of property
  • Spousal maintenance, i.e. alimony
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support

Under New Jersey law, sex and gender have no bearing on the determination of those above-listed items. A woman who willfully fails to sign divorce papers may receive just as unfavorable an outcome as a man in the same position. As you can see, your spouse’s unwillingness to respond does not stop the divorce, but it does prolong the process. While the court tends to penalize uncooperative behavior, it will not do so as a first resort, which is why you should not hesitate to contact our firm today.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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