My Spouse Won’t or Is Delaying Signing Our Virginia Divorce Papers—What Are My Options?

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My Spouse Won’t or Is Delaying Signing Our Virginia Divorce Papers—What Are My Options?

March 16 2023
By Faye Carroll

There are many reasons a spouse may refuse or delay signing divorce papers. They may disagree with the divorce terms as outlined in the paperwork. They may be unwilling or unable to accept that the marriage is over. They may even be purposely trying to delay the process to make things difficult.

Whatever the reason, a spouse’s refusal to sign or delay signing Virginia divorce papers can be a headache. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to try and avoid this complication to the best of your ability. While you can’t make your spouse sign the paperwork, here’s what you can do instead.

Attempt to Work Out Disagreements

One of the reasons a spouse may refuse to sign Virginia divorce papers is if they no longer agree to the terms of the divorce or never did. If a spouse refuses to sign, the divorce can be considered contested and may take significantly longer to process.

Even if you verbally agreed on terms and your spouse is now balking at seeing them in print, try to remind your spouse of why you decided on these terms in the first place. Do your communication through an attorney if necessary.

It’s typically in the best interests of both parties to agree on the terms of the divorce. This not only prevents a judge from making decisions about your asset and debt division, alimony, and minor children, but it can also make the process faster and less expensive.

Don’t Mail Your Spouse the Divorce Paperwork

Divorce paperwork is often mailed to the spouse, leaving the spouse who filed for divorce waiting for them to sign. The other spouse often delays signing paperwork, whether they are too busy or they want to make things complicated for you.

To prevent this from prolonging your divorce process, instead of mailing the paperwork, take it in person with your spouse to a notary, where the documents can be signed and notarized by both parties together at once on the same day.

Not only does this help save time and money, but it can also help expedite the divorce process. This way, your spouse has no reason to delay signing the papers—everything is done right there.

FAQs About Signing Divorce Papers

What if my spouse won’t sign the papers?

If the spouse will not sign, then the costs to have the court physically serve someone the documents can take more time and add to the cost of your Virginia divorce. If possible, try to do as much of this in person, as recommended above.

Doesn’t my spouse need to be served with the paperwork?

If your spouse will not sign an Acceptance of Service form before a Notary Public, they will need to be served with a Complaint for Divorce before any further action can be taken in your case.

For additional fees we will hire a Process Server or a Deputy Sheriff to serve the Complaint at the spouse’s work or residence.

How long does my spouse have to respond once they are served?

Once the paperwork is served, your spouse will have 21 days to respond. They do not have to sign the paperwork for the divorce to move forward, but it can make the process longer and much more expensive.

We’re Here for You

Need assistance with your divorce in Virginia? Virginia Family Law Center, P.C., makes the process as simple as possible and will guide you through each step, whether or not your spouse is willing to cooperate. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more.

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