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Michigan Family Law Blog

Saturday, February 23, 2019

What Happens if My Spouse Ignores the Divorce Papers?

In many divorce cases, both spouses agree that the marriage is broken, but they may argue about the details of the divorce. However, there are cases in which one spouse is taken by surprise by a divorce action. Some spouses may want to reconcile; therefore, they may ignore the divorce papers.

In other cases, a spouse may ignore divorce papers because he or she simply does not want to deal with the situation or is controlling and abusive. If your spouse ignores your divorce papers, it is helpful to seek the advice of an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer.

Can a Reluctant Spouse Stop a Divorce in Michigan?

Even though a spouse may not want to go through with a divorce, he or she cannot stop a divorce from occurring in Michigan. Michigan’s divorce laws provide for a no-fault divorce action. In a no-fault divorce action, it only takes one spouse to say that the marriage is broken to obtain a divorce.

As long as one spouse wants the divorce, a divorce proceeding cannot be stopped because the other spouse ignores or refuses to sign divorce papers. However, a stubborn spouse can slow down the process of obtaining a divorce if he or she refuses to cooperate.

Filing and Serving a Divorce Petition in Pennsylvania

To begin the divorce proceeding, your attorney files a petition for divorce with the court.  The petition and summons served on your spouse. Ideally, your spouse signs an acceptance or acknowledgment of service. However, there are several ways to serve papers on your spouse without your spouse’s signature.

Your spouse has a certain number of days to respond to the divorce petition. If your spouse does not respond to the petition, we can file a motion for default judgment. Your spouse is not required to sign anything for your attorney to file a motion for default. However, a divorce cannot be finalized until after the mandatory waiting period.

If you and your spouse do not have any minor children (children under 18 years of age), the waiting period is 60 days from the date the petition for divorce was filed. The mandatory waiting period for couples who have minor children is 180 days from the date the petition for divorce was filed.

Granting a Default Divorce Decree

If your spouse does not respond to the petition for divorce, a judge issues a default judgment after the end of the mandatory waiting period. The terms of the divorce decree are based on the terms you requested in the original petition for divorce. The terms must comply with Michigan laws.  Any issues related to child support or parenting arrangements must be in the best interest of the child.

Therefore, it is possible to obtain a divorce in Michigan even though your spouse ignores the divorce papers and/or refuses to sign any documents during the divorce process.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney for Help

If you are concerned that your spouse may fight your request for a divorce or ignore the divorce papers, you can consult with Michigan divorce attorney Cameron C. Goulding for legal advice, support, and guidance.


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