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.

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Grace Period for a Default Divorce in Missouri

Courts want to give both spouses an opportunity to provide their sides of the story during divorce proceedings, but if one spouse is unresponsive, the other may receive a divorce by default. While Missouri law does not have a specific "grace period" for default divorces, a spouse may ask the court to cancel a default divorce within a reasonable time if he had a good reason for failing to show up or respond to the court documents.

Steps for Filing Divorce in California

If you are seeking a divorce in California, you must follow the state's filing procedures and, in most cases, attend a court hearing. The state allows for "no-fault" divorce, meaning you do not need to supply specific grounds for the divorce. The state does impose residency requirements, however, as well as a six-month waiting period after the original petition is filed.

How to File for Divorce in Wayne County, Michigan

Michigan is one of 14 pure no-fault divorce states. This means that the only ground for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Most states allow an individual to file for divorce under no-fault grounds, but if the non-filing party contests the divorce, the party seeking the divorce must prove that there are grounds for the divorce under state law. Grounds for divorce vary from state to state. Divorce in Michigan can be finalized within six months provided a property settlement is achieved. The process for obtaining a divorce varies slightly if there are children involved in the marriage.

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