What can I do if my spouse will not sign divorce papers?

My stepson got married when he was 16; they were separated before he was 17. He had tried to file

papers himself without a lawyer but the girl said that her lawyer stated the papers were fake, so she didn’t sign them. This was about 3 years ago. They have no property or children. What can he do? Can he file and go through with the divorce even if she doesn’t sign? Can he file himself without a lawyer?

Asked on July 8, 2017 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your stepson can file, as the "petitioner", and serve his wife a copy of the "compaint" (basically his petition for divorce). As a general rule, the "repondent" (i.e. the non-filing spouse) about has 30-60 days to file their "answer". If they fail to do so within the timeframe allowed, he can file a request to enter a "divorce by default" (although the respondent will be given a certain time in which they can appeal the decision).


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