What happens if you want a divorce but you know your spouse does not? Don’t worry, it is still possible to get divorced even if your spouse is uncooperative. In fact, it only takes one person to get a divorce in Illinois. There are several different methods of obtaining a divorce if your spouse is resistant to the process. If your spouse completely refuses to participate in the divorce process, you could be entitled to a divorce by default.
The first step in obtaining a default divorce is just like any other divorce, you must file your initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. After you file your initial Petition, the second step is to serve your spouse with the Petition and the corresponding summons. In Illinois, a spouse served with a Petition and corresponding summons has thirty (30) days to file an appearance and a response to the Petition. If your spouse does not file their appearance or a response within those thirty (30) days and is thereby refusing to participate in the divorce process, you can file a Motion for Default. This Motion is filed pursuant to Sections 2-1301 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1301) and seeks that the Court enter a Judgment by default. Essentially, you are notifying the Court that your spouse is aware of the divorce process but is choosing not to participate, and therefore you request that you be allowed to proceed without their involvement. If the Court grants your Motion you can proceed to the final step.
The last step is to prepare a proposed Default Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage outlining what you want the Court to grant you as part of the divorce and submit said Judgment to the Court for consideration. This type of Judgment is not an agreement and does not require your spouse’s signature or consent. The Court will then consider your proposed Judgment. Your attorney will also present the contents of your proposal in the form of your testimony to the Court and if the Court approves of your Judgment, the Court will grant you a default divorce.
If you are not sure about the contents of your marital estate or what your spouse earns for purposes of support, you could conduct discovery prior to preparing a proposed Judgment. For more information about the discovery process and different options you may have, see the previous series post from April 21, 2022.
Although the default process has multiple steps and requirements, this is a great option for people who have a spouse who will try and prevent a divorce from happening by simply not participating. The attorneys at Reed, Centracchio & Associates, LLC are experts in this process, and would be happy to represent you in your journey to defeat a difficult spouse and get you divorced.
If you have any questions about the divorce process please feel free to contact the team at Reed Centracchio and Associates, LLC for a consultation.