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Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers on Long Island Solutions

by | May 31, 2016 | divorce, divorce lawyer long island ny, divorce mediation, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, marital property, News and Events

As a divorce lawyer practicing on Long Island for many years, I know that up until 2010, if you lived in New York and your spouse refused to sign divorce papers, he or she could complicate your divorce and make it more lengthy and expensive by contesting the grounds for divorce.

Fortunately, this issue was largely addressed by New York’s adoption of the No-Fault divorce law. In a no-fault divorce, courts can grant a divorce based upon “irreconcilable differences” in the marriage, rather than requiring that fault be placed on one spouse or the other.

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No Fault Divorce Addresses Some Issues When Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers on Long Island

Prior to No Fault divorce, it was common for a spouse to refuse to sign divorce papers that placed the blame on him or her. Now, if a spouse refuses to sign papers that say the marriage has broken down, the Suffolk County and Nassau County courts take note that, when one spouse wants a divorce and the other does not, this is a breakdown of the marriage on the most fundamental level and is a valid basis for divorce. The court will honor the irreconcilable differences ground for divorce if one spouse swears to the breakdown under oath. The no-fault law removes this hurdle, but does not by any means resolve all of the issues that must be addressed in divorce.

How Does Serving Divorce Papers Work on Long Island?

To commence the divorce proceeding, your spouse must be served with a Summons and Complaint. These documents notify your spouse of the proceeding and give him or her a chance to appear. If your spouse does not appear or reply, you may be able to move forward with the divorce without his or her consent. You must prove that your spouse was served with the Summons and Complaint, which can be shown by a signed affidavit of service of a process server. The court will likely grant a default judgment against your spouse, and you’ll likely receive what you have asked for in the complaint.

Can My Spouse Contest My Divorce on Long Island?

However, if your spouse does appear and contest the divorce, this complicates matters. While he or she cannot stop the proceeding, and cannot contest the No-Fault grounds for the divorce, he or she can certainly prolong or complicate matters by contesting other issues, like distribution of property or child custody and visitation. The judge will hear the evidence and testimony on all issues that are in dispute. This process will cost you both time and money, but once a judge decides these issues, the divorce will be granted. If you used any of New York’s Fault grounds as the basis for your divorce, such as adultery or cruel treatment, you will be asked to prove that this type of marital misconduct occurred, and this will be an additional area that will have to be litigated. Any issues you can settle with your spouse outside of court will save the both of you time, money and stress.

Divorce Mediation Saves Time, Money & Stress on Long Island

One alternative to a drawn out court proceeding is divorce mediation with a third party divorce mediator. This is a far less costly and time intensive process when you and your spouse are willing to negotiate and make some compromises. Divorce is never a quick and painless process, and there are inevitably some concessions that will need to be made to end your marriage, which is effectively the breaking a legal contract. Decide which issues are most important to you and be willing to make compromises on other, less important ones. The more that you can cultivate a cooperative spirit, the more likely you are to reach a quicker, more peaceful and less financially and emotionally expensive resolution. Unfortunately, many spouses become indignant during divorce, which truly costs them more in the long run.

Finally, one of the most common questions heard by divorce attorneys on Long Island is, “How long will my divorce take?” The answer will depend on the circumstances of your case, but a consultation with an experienced attorney can inform you or general time frames and timelines for your divorce.

If Your Spouse Won’t Sign Divorce Papers Our Experienced, Compassionate Long Island Divorce Lawyers Can Help

If you have questions about your contested divorce, and issues that you and your spouse cannot seem to agree on, it is important that you reach out to an experienced Long Island divorce attorney for advice. The Long Island divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. are here to assist you with all of your divorce and family law needs in Suffolk County, Nassau County, and New York City. Call our office today at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation.

Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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