What you should do if your spouse won’t sign divorce papers When a marriage is over, there are many challenges the couple may experience when they begin the divorce process with a divorce lawyer. Something that complicates matters further is when one spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. While some may not sign the divorce documents because it conflicts with their beliefs, others are simply trying to make things more difficult for their spouse.
In Canada, there are other ways that you can navigate a divorce without getting your spouse to sign the divorce papers. In other words, you don’t need an agreement from your spouse in order to get divorced. No one is going to force you to be stuck in an unhappy marriage. While getting the couple to amicably agree on the divorce is a simpler way of handling the process, there are other options to consider if that’s not possible.
3 types of divorces in Canada
This is when both spouses file an application for divorce together. This is the most uncommon type of divorce.
This occurs when one spouse signs the divorce papers and the other doesn’t respond in 30 days. After this time limit lapses, the court will resume the divorce process by assuming that the other party either agrees with the divorce or doesn’t care about it.
This occurs when one spouse applies for divorce and the other doesn’t agree to the terms of the divorce, such as division of property, child custody and child/spousal support. It may also occur when one spouse denies the divorce.
In many cases, when a divorce is contested, it proceeds to the family court where proceedings are done like in any other case. As soon as the parties agree on the terms of the divorce, such as spousal support, child custody and division of assets, the court can ‘sever the divorce.’ This simply means that the divorce will be granted immediately after these issues have been resolved.
There are 3 main reasons why a judge cannot grant a divorce alone.
- If there are children in the marriage and there are no adequate child support arrangements for them. For instance, if it is clear that the children are not adequately supported financially, the judge cannot grant the divorce yet.
- The judge may not grant the divorce if the spouse who filed the divorce papers is not removing religious barriers to remarriage. During the divorce process, the spouse who filed for divorce is required to sign an affidavit saying that they have removed any religious barriers to remarriage that are within their control. If the other spouse signs an affidavit and says this is untrue, it could block the divorce.
- If none of the parties have lived in the jurisdiction in Canada for at least a year, they may not be able to get a divorce. This prevents foreigners from coming to Canada just to get a divorce.
When there is adequate evidence provided to satisfy that the grounds for divorce exist and adequate provisions for the children have been made, a divorce will be granted. 30 days from the date of judgement the spouses will be legally divorced.