What Happens if Your Spouse Won’t Sign the Papers?
Divorce is a relatively simple procedure in Australia. However, there are situations when one partner refuses to sign the divorce documents. If you’re planning to start the divorce process but are worried that your ex-partner will object, you should speak with a divorce lawyer.
At Mediations Australia, our family lawyers can help you understand the legalities surrounding divorce.
Making an Application for Divorce
If you’re unsure how long does it take to get a divorce this article is useful.
According to the Family Law Act of 1975, a divorce is granted “on the ground that the marriage has irreparably broken down.” To prove irreversible breakdown, the following evidence is required:
- The court is satisfied that the parties are divorced and have lived apart for at least 12 months; and
- The parties’ inability to reconcile.
A divorce application can be filed by any party. A divorce lawyer can assist you in preparing this documentation.
If you submitted an application on your own, you must serve it on your spouse.
Service is the act of delivering court documents to a party after they have been filed. This ensures that all parties have received court documentation and are aware of the divorce proceeding. If you filed a joint application, you won’t have to serve your spouse with the documents.
You’ll need to arrange for your spouse to be served with some documents, either by mail or in person. Except for married couples, anybody above the age of 18 can be served with divorce papers. More information regarding serving papers can be found on the Family Court of Australia’s website.
After being served with divorce papers, the spouse who wishes to contest the divorce can submit a Response to Divorce. You can file a Response to Divorce if you want the divorce granted but disagree with the facts stated in the Application for Divorce.
Need some information that relates to your circumstance?
What Happens if My Ex-Partner Opposes the Divorce
Opposing a divorce is very limited if the court judges that the marriage has irreparably broken down and the parties have been separated for at least 12 months. The court can grant a divorce even if the spouse refuses to sign any forms. However, it must be proven that the spouse was served with the divorce application by filing an Affidavit. Our divorce lawyer advises that you finish this form appropriately or risk having to serve the spouse again.
If a spouse files a Response to Divorce, they must attend a hearing to explain why the application should be dismissed. You might be accompanied to the hearing by a divorce lawyer. If the responding spouse does not show up for the hearing, the Court may proceed with the divorce without them. Otherwise, the spouse has the option of having a telephone hearing.
Even if one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, it is almost probable that the divorce will continue. Several factors, however, may cause the divorce to be postponed. The Court can either delay or cancel the divorce application if the service of the application cannot be verified, for example. The court may also postpone the case if there is inadequate information in the application, such as proof that the couple has been separated for at least 12 months.
After your divorce application is authorised, the Court will set a hearing date. Sole applicants with children under the age of 18 from a prior marriage must present in person at this hearing to demonstrate that appropriate arrangements for the children have been made. Property, child custody, and financial difficulties are not resolved by filing for divorce.
How to Prepare Your Spouse for Divorce
The most important thing you can do to minimise the risk of your former partner is to prepare ahead of time. Most people who won’t sign the divorce papers are in denial that the relationship is over. Here are some things that you should consider if you’re in a position to do so.
Prepare an agenda
Not in the sense of a personal agenda, but a collaborative understanding of the divorce or separation process with your divorce lawyer. This will help you be prepared for the road ahead.
Put your children first
Going through a separation or divorce is difficult, and as a parent, you should always think about the consequences for your kids. It can be incredibly stressful. Post-separation, do as much as you can to continue to co-parent with your ex-partner and avoid emotionally embroiling your children with unpleasant comments about your ex-partner at all times.
Sure, this is easier said than done. But when emotions are heightened, things can fly off the handle that can seriously damage a good working relationship between you and your ex-partner following separation.
Be objective and realistic.
In our experience, some people fight over the smallest things. Separation and everything that follows is all about compromise. Those who are best able to compromise come out the other end emotionally and often financially better-off. Lawyers are expensive. You don’t want us in your life for longer than necessary.
Don’t go it alone –
As part of being objective and realistic, consider what you and your children need to make the road ahead less traumatic. Counseling can significantly help in keeping things in the picture.
At Mediations Australia, we’re early resolution focused. If you need help with family law advice or need assistance finding the middle ground with your ex-partner, We have a team of family lawyers and mediators who can assist you in Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and all other locations in Australia. WE offer a free, no-obligation consultation with a family lawyer or mediator. Get legal advice from us today!