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Do I need to sign the divorce papers if my wife has filed an uncontested divorce against me, or can a lawyer sign the papers?

Rochester, NY |

I recently got the divorce papers which are awaiting my signature for an "uncontested divorce" but are labeled as a "action of divorce." Can a lawyer sign these papers, or do I need to, as I am having trouble signing them due to religious reasons? What are my options?

Attorney Answers 3


You cannot be forced to sign papers that are prepared for an uncontested divorce. If you do not sign, your spouse will have to move forward with the action as a contested divorce. If you do not appear in the action or contest the matter, your spouse can proceed on default grounds and have the divorce granted without your participation. You should at least consult with an attorney as a default divorce judgment might contain orders that you do not agree with.

I have been an attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.

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Can a lawyer sign these papers for me?

Howard A. Schwartz

Howard A. Schwartz


In most instances, there are documents that would have to be signed by the party to the action. There may be some instances when a lawyer could sign, but you would have to sign authorizations allowing the attorney to sign on your behalf. Only the court can decide if the attorney's signature would be acceptable to allow the divorce to go through.


A lawyer can only sign the papers on your behalf if you have given the lawyer "power of attorney" to do so.

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A contested divorce and an uncontested divorce are both an "Action for Divorce."

Your lawyer isn't the one getting a divorce from your wife, you are. Your signature is needed. I couldn't even imagine a situation where a court would allow your attorney to sign on your behalf.

I don't understand the purported "religious reasons" that are giving you trouble signing the papers.

If you don't sign, then she can still get a divorce against you, but it would be a contested divorce. If I were her (or her attorney) and you didn't have a valid reason for not following through with the uncontested divorce, I would request that the court make you pay for all attorney's fees and costs associated with your wife's contested divorce.

Retain an attorney before making any decisions as there are likely facts that you have not shared in this forum that underlie your question.

This information is intended for educational purposes and does not establish a client-attorney relationship. A client-attorney relationship is not formed until the signing of a written retainer agreement by both the client and the attorney.

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