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      What Can I Do if My Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers in Tennessee?

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      What Can I Do if My Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers in Tennessee?

      Undoubtedly, going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming events that an individual can go through. However, the problem is only compounded when one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers or cannot be located.

      Tennessee has laws that deal with absent spouses and those who refuse to sign divorce papers. However, the divorce process can be overly complex and confusing for those who lack legal training.

      For these reasons, it is always best to hire an experienced divorce lawyer to assist you with filing for a divorce if your spouse cannot be located or is delaying the inevitable by refusing to sign the legal paperwork.

      Contact our law offices and ask to schedule an initial consultation so that we may discuss your case and determine what legal strategies are suitable for your situation.

      Why Would a Spouse Refuse to Sign Divorce Papers?

      There are many reasons why a spouse may be refusing to sign divorce papers. The most common reason is that a spouse wishes to stay married. In many instances, the spouse refusing to participate holds on to hope that the marriage can be salvaged.

      Some other common reasons why a spouse may refuse to sign divorce papers include:

      • The spouse is trying to maintain some form of control over the situation.
      • The other spouse is trying to delay the divorce process intentionally. Often, this is because they are trying to exert power over the other spouse by delaying the divorce, which can be extremely costly and time-consuming.
      • The spouse is trying to delay the divorce so they can hide assets or try to avoid paying spousal or child support.

      If your spouse has refused to sign divorce papers for whatever reason, several legal options may be available. Our staff can evaluate where you are in the divorce process to determine what legal strategy will address your needs.

      Our dedicated legal team has extensive experience handling issues where a spouse has refused to acknowledge or sign divorce papers.

      Contact our law office and ask to speak with a divorce lawyer who will gladly answer your legal questions.

      What is a Default Divorce?

      If the other spouse refuses to acknowledge or sign divorce papers, one option is “default divorce.” Tennessee law stipulates that a spouse may be entitled to a default divorce if one of the following is true:

      • The other spouse refuses to accept the divorce papers from a process server.
      • Fails to respond to the divorce complaint within 30 days of receiving the legal paperwork.

      In a default divorce, the spouse who chooses not to cooperate forfeits their rights regarding the division of property and other alimony. The non-participating spouse loses their say in deciding child support or parenting time if the couple has minor children.

      The court will note if the other spouse chooses not to participate in the proceedings and they have minor children. Failure to appear in court may make it difficult for the uninvolved spouse to challenge any rulings made by the court in the future.

      A default divorce has many advantages if the other spouse is not willing to cooperate with the divorce. However, our experienced legal team is here to help you understand what legal options may be suitable for you and what possibly can be done to speed up the process.

      What is a Default Judgment in a Divorce Case in Tennessee?

      If one spouse is uncooperative and refuses to acknowledge or sign the divorce papers, it will become necessary to pursue a default divorce. In Tennessee, to successfully obtain a default judgment in a divorce, several steps must be followed, which include:

      • The individual or their attorney must wait 30 days after the other spouse receives the divorce papers from the process server (service of process).
      • Individuals must send a certified copy of the motion to the other spouse as the court will check to ensure they received service of process.
      • If the other spouse fails to respond to the divorce complaint within 30 days of receiving the paperwork, the individual or their attorney can file a Motion for Default Judgment.
      • If the other spouse’s whereabouts are unknown, the court will review the case to ensure the filing spouse diligently tried to find them, including contacting them at home, work, or through family or friends.
      • The individual filing for a divorce will need to complete service by publication by publishing a notice in the newspaper where the other spouse lived.

      A default divorce may be finalized after a 60-day waiting period or 90 days if no children are involved. However, even after a default judgment has been issued in a divorce, both parties must wait 30 days until they can legally remarry.

      How Can Your Law Firm Help Me if My Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers?

      Our legal team recognizes that trying to get a divorce and not having your spouse willing to cooperate can be highly frustrating. For this reason, our law firm strives to help clients finalize their divorce so they can begin the next chapter of their lives.

      Our highly skilled divorce attorneys will guide you through the complex legal process accompanying default divorce actions. We take time to explain the process and ensure that all legal paperwork is filed to comply with state guidelines.

      In addition, if your spouse cannot be located and it becomes necessary to complete service by publication, our lawyers will oversee the process to confirm that it conforms to state law.

      Our staff also works diligently to provide you with information regarding any changes or progress that may occur in the case.

      If you have issues with your spouse refusing to sign divorce papers or willingly participate in the legal proceedings, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, at our Hendersonville, TN law offices by calling 615-502-4336 to schedule a consultation.


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