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When your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers in Washington

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce often brings a storm of emotional and legal complexities. When one party refuses to sign the divorce papers, it can complicate the process further. This is especially true in Washington, where the law has specific provisions for handling such cases.

When navigating a divorce where one party refuses to sign, it is essential to understand the procedures and possible outcomes.

Understanding Washington divorce laws

In Washington, a divorce can still proceed even if one spouse does not agree to the divorce or refuses to sign the divorce papers. The state has a “no-fault” divorce law, which means that a spouse does not need to prove wrongdoing by the other party to obtain a divorce. Simply stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken is enough.

Steps when a spouse refuses to sign

If a spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, the other spouse can still file for divorce. The spouse filing for divorce must serve the other spouse with the divorce papers. If the served spouse still refuses to respond, the filing spouse can request a default divorce.

Understanding a default divorce

A default divorce occurs when one spouse does not respond to divorce papers within the required time. If a spouse files for a default divorce, the court will assume that the other party agrees with everything stated in the divorce petition. The court can then proceed to finalize the divorce without the other spouse’s cooperation or signature.

Finalizing the divorce

The court will finalize the divorce in a hearing, and the judge will issue a divorce decree. The decree includes orders about property division, child custody, child support and other issues. The spouse who refused to sign the papers will receive a copy of the decree.

Divorce is often a difficult process, and a spouse refusing to sign the divorce papers can make it even more challenging. However, Washington law provides a pathway to finalize the divorce, even in these circumstances. By understanding the process and potential outcomes, individuals can navigate this difficult situation with greater confidence and clarity.