What Happens If Spouse Refuses to Sign Separation Agreement
Are you in a predicament because your spouse refuses to negotiate divorce? There are people who never entertain the idea of divorce even when they know the marriage is over, particularly due to religious beliefs. While it is not mandatory to have a separation agreement before you can be granted a divorce, having one is highly recommended as it can help clarify important issues early. Since you can’t force your spouse into signing a separation agreement, you have several options to help you move ahead with your life.
Why Separation Agreement is Important
If you and your spouse have decided to separate, you will need to sign a legal document that contains terms of what you have agreed to in terms of property division, financial support, and child custody among other important issues. There are many reasons to have a separation agreement in place:
- It provides a clear direction on how your assets will be divided and parenting arrangements, among other pertinent issues that will affect your divorce process should you choose to file.
- It provides clarity on how life will change, especially if you have children. The separation agreement covers child custody, access, and support issues.
- It eliminates any guesswork or unwelcome surprises in the future since each party’s obligations will be clearly set and jointly signed.
- It provides clarity on how property will be divided.
- It provides a guideline you can use during the divorce process to reduce the amount of time and level of disputes you may have when pursuing a divorce.
- If you or your spouse is looking to get new financing, the lender may request a properly drafted and signed separation agreement.
My Spouse Refuses to Sign Separation Agreement – Can I Force my Spouse to Do it?
When you agree to separate, the best course of action is to discuss the terms of the separation agreement, which is then drafted by a lawyer and signed by each party. However, many couples are unable to amicably resolve issues affecting their divorce, including signing a separation agreement. What happens if you don’t sign separation papers?
If your husband won’t accept separation or you have a spouse delaying separation agreement, you can consult a lawyer to guide you on the next steps. Typically, your family lawyer will help you prepare a written notice to your spouse and engage them in the settlement and negotiations. An experienced family lawyer will provide guidance on how to engage your spouse to discuss the terms of the separation.
In case your spouse completely refuses to discuss the terms of the separation agreement, you will need to proceed to court or get an arbitrator to handle the settlement discussions. Going to court should be the last resort, especially if you’re looking to have a quick and affordable divorce process. When your divorce matters are decided by the court, you are both likely to lose. Not only will you spend more time in the process but you also risk getting a court to decide on matters that only the two of you understand best.
Unfortunately, you cannot make your spouse sign a separation agreement. In fact, forcing your spouse to sign the agreement may result in enforceability which could invalidate this document. However, you can decide to take the divorce case to court, where a judge will decide on matters such as child custody, division of assets, support and parenting arrangements. Seek legal help if you can’t agree on these issues. Lawyers have the ability to negotiate the best terms for both of you out of court.
Which Steps Should You Take if Your Spouse Refuses Signing a Separation Agreement?
Get a divorce lawyer immediately if your spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement. Your lawyer can help you get a valid separation agreement by applying for the necessary court orders. Since there is no time limit to be separated, you can remain separated for many years and never file for divorce.
If your wife or husband won’t accept separation, take the following steps:
- With the help of a lawyer, send your spouse a demand letter which clearly explains the repercussions of not signing. Your lawyer will also help file an Affidavit of service, which simply proves that the spouse received the legal notice.
- Give your spouse a set amount of time to respond to the legal notice.
- Ensure that you have covered all pertinent items in the separation agreement that you need to agree on.
- If you still don’t get your spouse to sign the agreement, your lawyer can help to file the application in court, after which you will receive an order to go ahead with the divorce.
Work with a lawyer before signing any separation agreement to better understand your rights and obligations.