As you have likely heard from anyone who has navigated the process, divorce can be a stressful and at times overwhelming ordeal. Many obstacles can occur and make the process even more complex. One potential hurdle that many people encounter is when a soon-to-be former spouse refuses to sign divorce papers. 

What should you do when this happens? The short answer is that it is still possible to obtain a divorce in Georgia even if the other party refuses to sign the divorce papers. The following will review some further details about what exactly you should do in this situation. 

The Divorce Process in Georgia

To initiate the divorce process in Georgia, you file a complaint in Georgia Superior Court. Among other details, this complaint explains the reason for the divorce as well as lists the couple’s marital assets and current living situation. After the complaint is filed, you must provide the other spouse with details about the divorce through service. It is possible to perform service in several different ways, including hiring a process service or paying local law enforcement agency to serve the complaint. 

Answer by the Other Spouse

Once the other spouse is informed about the divorce, he or she will be allowed to file an answer that responds to the issues that are raised in the complaint. Any issues that the other spouse fails to answer will be viewed as true by Georgia courts. 

If the other spouse receives the divorce paperwork and does not do anything, a default divorce will often occur. During a default divorce, a judge will grant the divorce in favor of the spouse who filed the complaint. The judge will either approve some or all of the requests made in the complaint.

Divorce Hearing

If you and your spouse are unable to reach a consensus about the terms of the divorce, it is critical to attend a hearing so the judge can make decisions about the contested issues. A Georgia judge will make a final ruling regarding the time that each parent will spend with a child. 

The hearing is best viewed as the final opportunity to argue your side of things. If a spouse does not appear at the hearing, a court will likely grant your request for a divorce without the spouse’s consent. 

The Finalization of a Divorce

A divorce is not final until a judge enters a final order. In the state of Georgia, a final order at the earliest can be entered 31 days after a complaint is filed. 

A final order can be made even if a spouse does not respond, which means you need not be concerned that a divorce will not be granted if your spouse refuses to sign papers. In some situations, however, these deadlines are subject to change.

Speak with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

The divorce process is complex, and countless substantial obstacles can arise as you attempt to end your marriage. If you need the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney, do not hesitate to contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today.