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What happens if a spouse ignores an Arizona divorce filing?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Divorce

People can respond very aggressively to service with divorce documents in some cases. If there has not already been a discussion about the potential divorce, receiving legal paperwork from a process server could trigger intense disputes. The person surprised by the process server might confront their spouse or take to social media to make an angry announcement to their shared social connections.

Other times, realizing that someone wants to divorce triggers sorrow and possibly depression. Whether someone feels sorry for themselves or angry about the idea of divorce, they may not intend to cooperate with their spouse. They might refuse to communicate about the divorce, possibly in the hopes of preventing their spouse from moving forward with the process.

Those preparing for an Arizona divorce may worry that their spouses might try to fight the filing at every opportunity. Stonewalling or refusing to communicate or negotiate can be a very frustrating tactic. Can one spouse prevent a divorce from occurring in Arizona by ignoring their spouse’s filing?

Ignoring paperwork does not prevent a divorce

Typically, the courts need input from both spouses to reach a reasonable solution for property division matters and other aspects of an Arizona divorce. The spouse served with divorce paperwork can counter any suggestions in the documents that displease them.

If one spouse refuses to communicate with the other, that could make it much more difficult to arrange for a reasonable outcome to the divorce process. However, one individual cannot essentially force another to remain married by ignoring divorce paperwork. The spouse served typically needs to submit a formal response to the courts within 20 days of their service. They have an extra 10 days if they live outside of Arizona. Failing to take prompt action could lead to the person who filed the divorce paperwork submitting a request to the courts to move forward with a divorce by default.

Essentially, if someone fails to challenge the proposed terms for property division, custody and financial support, the courts might grant someone the terms they requested. Someone who refuses to communicate with their spouse or respond to their legal filings in family court ultimately puts themselves at a disadvantage by limiting what influence they may have on the final divorce decree.

Preparing for the possibility of both conflict and a stonewall strategy in which someone completely refuses to communicate can help those filing for divorce move the process forward as quickly as possible.

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