What to do when your spouse refuses to sign divorce papers

My spouse has been served divorce papers and they aren’t responding at all. What happens next?

In Minnesota, a divorce can still proceed if the spouse who was served divorce papers is not responding.  A divorce will proceed as normal if the spouse who is served with divorce papers is dragging his or her feet.  Once the spouse is personally served with the divorce papers, whether by a process server, Sheriff Deputy or someone else who is not the spouse starting the divorce, the divorce can be filed with the court that then opens a court file and mails to both spouses paperwork showing the divorce has started.

What if my spouse refuses to sign divorce papers?

Don’t worry, even if your spouse never signs divorce papers the divorce will still happen, it just might take a bit longer.  In Minnesota, the spouse wanting to start a divorce has to provide to the other spouse paperwork showing a divorce is taking place. a divorce cannot be started or completed without the other spouse knowing about it.  Court rules in this instance require a process server, Sheriff Deputy or third party who is over the age of 18 years old and is not the person wanting to start the divorce must give the other spouse the documents that start the process. That person then signs an Affidavit of Service showing he or she gave the other spouse the divorce papers. That affidavit of service shows the judge that the other spouse now knows the divorce has begun.

What To Do When a Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers?

1) Hire a divorce attorney. The divorce process in Minnesota is complicated, time-consuming, and can be intimidating for a person who chooses to represent themselves.  Minnesota law requires people going through a divorce to know divorce law and court rules which attorneys who practice in the area of family law know.
2) Have a process server, Sheriff Deputy, or third party who is 18 years or older and who is not the person wanting the divorce hand to the other spouse the divorce papers showing the process has now begun.  Having a process server or Sheriff Deputy serve paperwork is not free, however. They may charge anywhere between $50 to $100.
3) If contact has been lost with the other spouse and the person wanting the divorce has no idea of where that person is living or working or has no ability to contact that spouse through family, friends, work, or social media, there is a process by which the other spouse is served with the divorce paperwork through a special ad in a local newspaper. The spouse wanting the divorce must complete paperwork for a judge explaining the last contact with that person as well as the attempts made to try to find him or her. It takes a few months to serve a person this way and costs between $500 to $1,000 to complete service by publication in a newspaper.