Q: What if my wife is refusing to sign divorce papers and has no address to send them to. Can I get it by default?
Thank you for your question. I'm sure the situation must be very frustrating for you. You may be able to get a divorce by default, but you have several steps that must be completed first. You will need to do a diligent inquiry as to her whereabouts, then provide proof of same to the court. You will have to then request service via publication or some other substituted means, such as email, and follow all the requirements for that. And finally, if she does not respond within the required time frame, you could request a default. If you are asking the court to divide assets or debts or time with children, then there are additional steps.
There are a lot of requirements and moving parts to a situation like yours. The best thing to do is to consult with an experienced family law attorney. You will then be able to receive advice tailored to your specific situation.
Proceeding with a default judgment application is not simple and if done wrong, you can end up wasting a tremendous amount of time and energy chasing your tail.
If you have filed a complaint for divorce and have asked your wife to sign the acknowledgement of service form and she refuses, then it may make sense for you to hire a process server firm and pay them to effectuate service on your wife. If you know where she works or where she will be on a particular day / night, they can arrange to have a process server at that location to serve her and once they serve her, you will get an affidavit of service from the process server firm, which you will then file with the court. Once you have that signed acknowledgement of service form filed with the court, the clock is running against your wife to file her responsive pleading. If she fails to file a responsive pleading within the time limit permitted, then you can file an application for entry of default (properly supported by the required papers). Presuming you then get an order from the court for the entry of default, then you need to prepare the proposed form of judgement and supporting documents and file same with the court and simultaneously serve it on your wife ( by email or otherwise).
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