Divorce can be messy. It can take months or years to finalize when you want nothing more than to move forward with your life. So what happens when your ex doesn’t respond or refuses to sign the divorce papers? Can you still get the divorce even without their signature?
The answer is a big yes! You can still get a divorce even if your ex won’t sign. But how? Here are some tips:
Step 1: Make Sure Your Ex Receives the Divorce Papers
When you apply for the divorce application, your ex will be sent a copy of the Divorce Petition (Form D8), as well as an Acknowledgement of a Service Form. They would need to return this Service Form within 7 days if you applied online, and 8 days, if you sent it through the post.
So what happens if they don’t respond or sign the forms? You would need to make sure they’ve received it by sending you a confirmation through an email message, text message, or through a messenger app.
If they’ve confirmed they’ve received the Divorce Papers through these platforms, but they are not signing or returning the Acknowledgement Service Form, you can then proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Apply for Deemed Service
Deemed Sevice is an application to the Court where you ask for the divorce process to go ahead even if the Acknowledgement Form has not been received by the Court.
You will then need to show evidence that your ex has indeed received the Divorce Papers, by showing the text message, email, or message from a messenger app. You can hire a Divorce Solicitor for this process, who will inform you that your evidence will suffice before you send your Deemed Service application.
Once you’ve sent your application, a Judge will decide whether or not your evidence is enough for the divorce to go through. If not, then you can proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Get a Process Server
If you can’t get your ex to sign and you can’t get a confirmation that they’ve received the Divorce Papers, or the Judge rejected your application for Deemed Service, you can proceed to get a Process Server.
A Process Server will physically deliver the Divorce Papers to your ex by going to his house or place of work. The Process Server will then issue a certificate that your ex personally received the Papers.
You can then use this certificate as your evidence in the Court that your ex has indeed received the Divorce Papers but refuses to sign or does not respond.
If the Process Server does not locate your ex or has gone multiple times to his home or place of work but your ex refuses to accept the Divorce Papers or show his face, then you can proceed to Step 4.
Step 4: Ask For Alternative Service
Alternative Service is when you ask permission from the Court to serve the Divorce Papers through your ex’s relatives, or their employer. If this still doesn’t work you can proceed to Step 5.
Step 5: Apply for Dispensed Service
When all else have failed, you can apply for Dispensed Service at the Courts by proving that all means to contact your ex have been exhausted, but to no avail. This can be time-consuming and expensive, and usually only done as a last resort.
If you want to proceed with your divorce without the cooperation of your ex, hiring a Divorce Solicitor can give you the answers you’re looking for.