Can a Judge Make You Sign Divorce Papers?

By Teo Spengler

In days gone by, both spouses had to agree to a divorce in order to end a marriage, but that is no longer the case. Either spouse acting alone may pursue a divorce, and a court may grant that divorce without the consent of the other party. Therefore, a judge has no reason to force a party to sign divorce papers.

Filing for Divorce

Currently, every state in the union authorizes no-fault divorce. In no-fault divorces, either spouse has the right to end the marriage based on irreconcilable differences even if the other spouse does not agree. While the petitioner spouse must serve the documents, the signature of the other spouse is not required to proceed with the divorce.

The Divorce Decree

Divorces proceed faster if divorcing spouses come to agreement on thorny issues such as property division, financial support and child custody. But failure to agree does not avoid a divorce. The divorce judge hears and decides any disputed issues and includes the decisions in the final judgment for divorce. The spouses' signatures are not needed or required to validate a divorce decree.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Is the Absence of Sexual Relations Grounds for Divorce?

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What Happens If Divorce Papers Go Unsigned?

During the divorce process, the court and individual spouses’ attorneys ask both parties to sign agreements, petitions and affidavits. If one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, it is still possible for the divorce to proceed. Such refusals usually slow down the divorce process and may lead to additional hearings, trials or mediation sessions, but will not preclude the couple from ending the marriage.

Is Counseling Required to Divorce in Georgia?

Marriage counseling can be helpful to some couples attempting to reconcile and avoid divorce. In Georgia, while a couple may choose to voluntarily attend counseling, state law does not require it as a prerequisite to divorce. However, once a divorce has been filed, the court can order the couple to work with a mediator in an attempt to come to an agreement on the major issues related to their divorce.

How to Do Your Own Divorce in Michigan

As a no-fault divorce state, Michigan grants your request for a divorce without the need to prove fault. The only required grounds for divorce that you must prove in your complaint is a breakdown of your marriage, beyond repair. If you and your spouse agree to a marital settlement agreement, the court does not raise the issue of fault. However, if you and your spouse fail to reach an agreement on property division or spousal support, the court uses fault as a determining factor to resolve those issue.

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