If I got my divorce papers from a do-it-yourself site and then sent them to him a while ago but he still hasn’t sent them back, can I go ahead and file for the divorce?

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If I got my divorce papers from a do-it-yourself site and then sent them to him a while ago but he still hasn’t sent them back, can I go ahead and file for the divorce?

Asked on January 23, 2016 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In a situation wherein the non-filing spouse (i.e. the "respondent") will not sign divorce papers, the spouse filing for divorce (i.e. the "petitioner") can obtain what is known as a "divorce by default". As long as a valid summons and complaint have been filed with the court and the respondent has been properly served, the petitioner is entitled to a divorce if the respondent fails to file an answer to the complaint within a specified time period (generally 30-60 days).
After that time, the respondent will be deemed to have "defaulted". As a result, the petitioner can then file their final paperwork and appear in court. The judge will then make their ruling solely on the petitioner's testimony. A divorce is then typically granted on the terms requested.
Note: The repondent has a certain period of time in which to appeal, depending on the state. After that, the court's ruling becomes final.


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