It is no secret that divorce can be messy. Emotions and tensions can run high, causing large amounts of stress that not everyone can handle. In some situations, a spouse may end up just fleeing or leaving the state entirely to get away from the situation or in an attempt to avoid getting a divorce. In other situations, a person may end up filing for divorce because their spouse has already disappeared. Whatever the situation, an absent spouse can be frustrating and can add steps to the divorce process, but it is still possible to complete the divorce, even if you are not sure where your spouse is located.
Getting a Divorce by Default
In any divorce case, the process is first started by filing a petition for divorce with the court in the county in which you reside. Typically, your spouse would then have 30 days from the filing of the petition to respond and notify the court of their appearance (or non-appearance) at the initial hearing. If they do not respond to the petition, or you do not know their whereabouts to serve their petition, it is still possible to get a divorce through alternate methods in Illinois.
A judge may grant you a default divorce judgment if your spouse is unwilling to cooperate with the divorce process or if your spouse’s whereabouts are unknown. Before the judge does this, however, they will want to know that you have done everything you can to find your missing spouse. During your divorce hearing, the judge will ask you what you have done to locate your spouse and will want to know specifics. Examples of looking for your spouse may include:
Contacting family, friends, prior landlords, or other individuals who may know their whereabouts
Serving hearing notices at their last known residence and workplace
Attempting to contact your spouse by phone, text, email, or mail
Searching social media websites
If attempts to find your spouse are unsuccessful, the court may order service by publication, meaning that notice of the divorce is published in a local newspaper. The court can then proceed with a default judgment, in which the judge will determine the appropriate terms after hearing only the petitioner’s requests.
Contact a Naperville, IL Divorce Attorney
Filing for divorce can be difficult for anyone in more ways than one. If you are planning on filing for divorce and you are unsure of the location of your spouse, you should discuss your situation with a DuPage County divorce lawyer who is knowledgeable about default judgments. At the Goostree Law Group, our attorneys have more than 80 years of combined family law experience. To start discussing your case and schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-364-4046.