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I am very sorry to hear about this situation.
1) Understand that a divorce may be uncontested, or contested. Uncontested means that all parties agree on everything and sign off on the documentation together. This is what you were attempting to do.
2) Contested means that one party does not agree to divorce or cannot agree to a division of property agreement. If so, then the Petitioner (i.e. party that files the divorce) can STILL serve them process of service (i.e. the "divorce papers") and then continue with the divorce.
3) Even if they do not agree to the divorce, as long as they are SERVED, the divorce will go on and will be finalized eventually, whether they like it or not.
4) At any time, the other party (Respondent
) can agree to the division of property and the matter would again be uncontested. As long as they do not agree, it remains contested. If the parties cannot agree to the division of property, the Court will enforce a division based on default rules, which means a division of 50/50 as much as possible of the community assets (if any).
5) If the Respondent cannot be found to be served, the Court may allow an alternative service via things like publication, for example, in a newspaper. Once the Respondent does not reply in time, then the Court would deem him as having defaulted and continue the divorce without him.
6) See here for more:
Counsel is recommended, but not mandatory.
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