Divorce is always easier when both parties can cooperate and negotiate solutions among themselves. Unfortunately, in extremely contentious cases, your spouse may not be willing to work with you and may refuse to sign the petition. Fortunately, you can still dissolve the marriage without your spouse’s written approval by following the steps below.

How to Get Divorced If Your Spouse Won’t Sign

1. File the Petition

A divorce petition doesn’t require the signatures of both parties, so you may go ahead and file the paperwork with the court. Many county courts even allow you to file online after paying the filing fee. However, filling out the petition can be confusing, so you may need to consult an attorney to ensure it’s completed correctly.

2. Have Your Spouse Served

divorceThe next step is having your spouse formally served with the papers. In some counties, the court or sheriff’s office may have to deliver the documents, or you can hire a professional process server. In other jurisdictions, sending the papers through certified mail to your spouse’s current address counts as a formal serving.

3. Attend the Court Hearing

Once the papers have been served, the court will assign a court date, whether or not the other party responds. If they don’t file an answer within a certain period, usually 30 days, and fail to show up at the hearing, the judge will most likely grant a divorce based solely on the facts in your petition.

However, if they do submit a response and show up in court, you may have to go through the process of a contested divorce. Both sides will have a chance to argue their case and present evidence about property division, child support, and any other issues. After hearing the evidence, the judge will enter a divorce decree, even if your spouse doesn’t want to end the marriage.


Whether you’re negotiating a peaceful dissolution with your spouse or locked in a contentious separation, the attorneys at Knochel Law Offices will provide the insightful representation and detailed legal advice you need. With offices in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City, AZ, they’ve served clients throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada since 1987. Visit their website to learn more about their wide range of family law services, or call (928) 444-1000 to arrange an initial consultation.