How to Get a Divorce in Mississippi if Spouse Refuses to Sign Papers?

Wife refuses to sign divorce papers from husband

Marriage dissolution is often a complicated and stressful process; it becomes even more challenging when only one of the spouses wants to end a marriage.

In Mississippi, if a petitioner files for divorce on fault-based grounds and has sufficient evidence to prove their claims in court, it’s not necessary to get the other spouse’s agreement to divorce. Though such a procedure will likely cost you more than an uncontested, no-fault divorce, it is the only way to officially end your marital relationship if the other party is not cooperative.

Common Reasons a Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers

The woman is very upset because she does not want to sign the divorce papers.
Common reasons for a spouse not signing divorce papers in Mississippi may include disputes over property, child custody, or financial issues.

There are multiple cases when it’s clear that the marriage is doomed, but one of the spouses refuses to admit it. In such situations, it’s crucial to understand why a partner behaves in such a way to find a potential solution.

Let’s pay attention to some widespread reasons why a spouse may refuse to divorce.

Spouse in Denial

Denial is a natural reaction of a person to a negative event. By showing their negation, a spouse tries to outpace the anger, grief, and other emotions that are yet to appear. They may think that your marriage can still be saved but don’t know how to show it to you in the right way. In this situation, compassion and firmness of your intentions should help you talk with your spouse and find a compromise.

Spouse Attempts to Prevent a Divorce

Dissolution of marriage is a daunting process that requires a lot of time, documents, and finances. Besides, the fear of losing some benefits present in marriage, like insurance coverage from the other spouse, marital house, financial stability, etc., can stand behind a spouse’s attempts to prevent a divorce. Evidently, no one desires to go through such a complicated legal procedure.

Still, a spouse who wants to terminate a marriage can consider using the assistance of a professional lawyer who can help them build a proper strategy for communicating with the other party and prepare all the necessary documents for the court.

Spouse Disagrees with Terms

In case spouses haven’t signed the marriage contract, some disagreements with the divorce terms may occur during the dissolution of marriage. These can include disputes about the division of property, custody of children, spousal support payments, etc. One of the most appropriate solutions for such cases is hiring a professional lawyer to assist you during the divorce process. They won’t help you to avoid misunderstandings with your spouse but can give you legal advice regarding your further actions, assist in negotiating divorce terms, resolve some disputes out of court, or represent your interests during a trial.

What to Do if Spouse Refuses to Sign Divorce Papers

If you know your spouse will not sign the divorce papers and refuse to negotiate the divorce terms, you can still start the filing process. It is also common that a defending spouse refuses to be served with the divorce papers, does not provide a response to the petition, or ignores the hearings. Therefore, you should be aware of the actions the petitioner can take in such a case.

According to the Mississippi divorce laws, if you file for marriage dissolution under the grounded reasons and can prove them in court, you can get a divorce even if the other party is not cooperative at all. As a petitioner, you should inform your partner about filing for divorce by officially serving them. In case they don’t provide an answer, file a counterclaim, or come to the trial, the judge can proceed with the case and hold a hearing only with one party present.

How to Get a Divorce in Mississippi Without Your Spouse?

A man files for divorce without his wife's consent
Obtaining a divorce without your spouse’s involvement in Mississippi can be challenging but is possible through legal processes.

To start a divorce process in Mississippi, you should meet the residency requirements, being a state resident for at least six months before filing. Some steps of the divorce process are indicated below:

  • First, you need to draft a Complaint for Divorce that specifies the grounds for dissolution of marriage and the divorce terms concerning child custody, property division, support, etc.
  • After preparing divorce papers, you should submit the Complaint and other case-specific forms to the court.
  • Then, you should serve your spouse with the divorce papers. Typically, it can be done by hiring a sheriff or a process server. However, if you don’t know a respondent’s current location, you can serve them by publishing a legal notice in a newspaper upon the court’s permission.

Can you still get a divorce if your spouse refuses to provide a reply or ignores a service? The answer is yes. In case there is no response from the other party during the 30-day period, you can request the court to proceed with the divorce by default. The judge will decide on child custody, property division, and other issues, considering the information you have provided in the Complaint. After that, you can obtain the official document that certifies the marriage termination.

If you decide to file for divorce in Mississippi but are not sure that your spouse will cooperate, it is advisable to seek help from an attorney to ensure that you follow the most up-to-date process and protect all your rights and interests.

Can I Get a Divorce Without Knowing Where My Spouse Is?

According to the Mississippi laws, you can get a divorce even if you can’t find a spouse to serve divorce papers. If there is no information about the spouse’s valid address, you may publish a notice in the local newspaper informing the other party about a divorce case.

Before doing that, you may need to prove in court that there is no other way to deliver divorce papers since you can’t determine the current location of your spouse, though you have completed a rigorous search. When 30 days have passed since publication, and you have no reply from the other party, the default divorce can be granted, as described in the previous paragraph.

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