Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/divorce question


QUESTION: Hi.  Can you tell me if it's legal for one person in a marriage to refuse to sign divorce papers?  If so, what is usually done in this case?  Thanks

ANSWER: Hello Danielle,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

Your question about "divorce papers" calls to mind some possibilities that I will try to make a good guesses at.  

If you mean a joint petition is rejected by the responding spouse, then it might be a good idea to simply file an adverarial petition, and allow the other spouse to Answer.  

If you mean an acknowledgement of service is not forthcoming, then it may be wise to have a process server effect service and execute an affidavit of service.

If a party refuses to participate in a case, such as a divorce, the judge may ultimately rule against them by default.

If you mean something else by "divorce papers" please let me know, and I will follow up with you.  Also, I suggest that you take whatever papers are of concern to you to your attorney for some particular advice.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So, if the other party refuses to participate in a case, the judge can force them to?

Hello again Danielle,

The same rules apply to this follow up as I set forth in my original response.

Yes, if a party doesn't participate in a case, the judge may rule against them in default.  That's called a default judgment, and it happens precisely when one party initiates the case, does a proper job of showing they effected service, and the other side simply fails to appear or participate as required under the rules.

Please speak to your attorney about the status of your case and content of any divorce papers on your mind.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law  

Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)

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Morgan Smith


Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.


I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at:

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J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, MN

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