Can a spouse refuse to sign divorce papers?

Divorce laws vary from state to state but lack of a signature can rarely prevent a person from obtaining a divorce. You must consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction. Generally, the other party can refuse to sign the papers. You will need to follow your state laws at every step in the process. If they cannot be found the court will allow a notice by publishing. Depending on your jurisdiction they have to respond within a certain amount of time. If they do not, you can proceed with the divorce.

As long as you follow the proper procedures, and your spouse is properly served with the divorce papers, he or she cannot stop the divorce by refusing to sign something.

California

Your Spouse is not required to sign Divorce Papers in California.

New York

The Court will proceed with the divorce, whether your spouse wants the divorce or not.

It will not matter that your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers in New York once the state approves the new no-fault divorce law. Under the new law, you will be able to start divorce proceedings without her consent. The governor is expected to sign the bill the week of July 5, 2010 and then the law will go into effect immediately.

Under the new law, to file for divorce one of you will have to state under oath that the "relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months."

Texas

File a dissolution of marriage petition under the default laws of the state. The non petitioning spouse will be given a specific time in which to respond to the divorce summons and if she or he fails to do so, the judge can grant the divorce decree according to the terms that are stated within. In Texas, if you have them served then they have 20 days to sign and if they do not then you automatically get the divorce.