Divorce, even when amicable, can be a tiring and stressful experience for both parties involved. It can become even more frustrating when your spouse (or shall we say, soon-to-be-ex) is uncooperative, unhelpful, and resistant to signing the divorce papers. He or she may be holding onto that last thread of hope that they can make the relationship still work, or they may be trying to create leverage for certain assets they are fighting for, or they may just be trying to prolong the divorce process to try and get back at you for something.
Here’s the good news: in Colorado, you can still divorce your spouse, even if they refuse to sign the papers. However, if lawyers aren’t involved by this point in the divorce, it would be a great time to call us because this can extend the length of the divorce process and complicate things.
In the general divorce process, you will need to have your divorce papers served to your spouse, which makes you the petitioner of the divorce. This can be don by any legal adult over the age of 18, the local sheriff’s department, or a private party who specializes in divorce (like us). Once the papers are formally served to your spouse, they have thirty days to respond.
At this point, your spouse (the respondent) may or may not refuse to be involved in the divorce process. If they refuse, a judge will likely sign off on the divorce decree, and you will officially be divorced.
Side Note: sometimes a respondent will try to avoid being served papers to prevent the divorce from proceeding. If the court cannot serve the papers to them, such as if/when the respondent skips town and/or tries to make their location unknown, you can serve the divorce papers by making the divorce known in a publication, such as a newspaper or magazine. Fortunately, this is a rare and extreme occurrence.
Occasionally, a respondent may try to contest the divorce, by attempting to prove that the marriage is not broken beyond repair. In rare cases, the court may order the petitioner and the respondent to try marriage counseling before proceeding with the divorce. Most of the time, the divorce gets granted anyways.
If you are a spouse who is reading this from the alternative perspective and is trying to avoid divorce, we want to assure you that participating in your divorce is in your best interest. Without your participation in the divorce, the court only hears the side of your soon-to-be-ex, and therefore makes all the decisions based on their story and requests.
Of course, we hope that your divorce goes more smoothly than this, but we are prepared to fight for you in the event that it doesn’t. As always, we want to assure you that you are not alone, and that we are here to help simplify the divorce process and help you navigate the legalese.
When you’re ready, give us a call, we’re prepared to help.