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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 5 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).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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