If a spouse “refuses to sign the papers” is the divorce in limbo?

If a spouse “refuses to sign the divorce papers” would the divorce be in limbo?


The days of a spouse preventing a divorce due to a refusal to agree to divorce ended with the creation of “no-fault divorce”. Many people think that no-fault divorce mean that “you can’t divorce me because I’ve committed no-fault.” Actually, just the opposite is true. People can get a divorce regardless of whether their spouses have committed any fault or not. That’s why it’s called “no-fault divorce”.

See, before no-fault divorce, the only way one could obtain a divorce is if he or she had a “fault” basis for divorce. Those bases were, depending upon what jurisdiction you lived in:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Abandonment or desertion
  • Willful neglect to provide the common necessaries of life
  • Mental illness
  • Criminal conviction
  • Substance abuse
  • Impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage

Now, however, every state in the U.S.A. allows divorce based upon “irreconcilable differences” or a similar ground, and “irreconcilable differences” if one of the two married people feels that way. Thus, anyone can get a divorce without having to prove anything other than a desire for the divorce and without having to get his/her spouse’s consent to divorce. No need to get one’s spouse to “sign the papers” as a condition of obtaining a divorce.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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