How long do I have to wait for my divorce after my spouse refuses to sign the papers?

UPDATED: Jan 25, 2011

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How long do I have to wait for my divorce after my spouse refuses to sign the papers?

My wife, attempted suicide in 07/09, all 3 of my children and myself watched her die and be brought back to life. She left IA after her stent in the psychiatric ward. 2 of the 3 children reside with me, 1 is 18 and the other is 15. The 1 with her mother is 17 and will be 18 in September. I’ve asked her if she would sign the divorce papers and she refuses. She said she wanted to punish my new fiancee and me by not granting it. I’m going to file anyway when my taxes come in, but how long until I can be granted my freedom to marry my fiancee? I’m tired of waiting.

Asked on January 25, 2011 under Family Law, Iowa


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Traditionally states required that a party have grounds for divorce in order to start proceedings - abandonment, adultery, etc., and the filing party had to -prove the grounds.  This gave the other party the opportunity to object and to shoot holes in the proof presented.  The result could then be that the grounds were not proven and the divorce not granted.  Then came no-fault divorces.  No-fault divorces allow a party to file for divorce without the necessity of showing grounds or fault.  And the filing party can get a divorce despite the objection of the other spouse. So you can file for a no-fault divorce in Iowa.  If she objects it can be as to the other issues that need to be decided - dividing assets, child support, alimony - what ever they are.  But generally you can dissolve the mariage first and leave those issues to be decided. Seek help in your are as to time frames.  It is probably not that long. 

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