Although most couples in Illinois typically engage in the divorce process together, in some high-conflict divorces, one spouse will refuse to cooperate in the divorce proceedings. Your spouse may become nonresponsive, refuse to negotiate, or refuse to sign divorce papers. This may be in an attempt to control you, get revenge, or even avoid legal consequences due to previous criminal behavior. Whatever the reasons, a non-cooperative spouse can derail the divorce proceedings and make your life very difficult.
Only One Party Has to Sign Divorce Papers
Fortunately, you have legal recourse to complete the divorce process, even if your spouse is noncooperative. A common misconception about Illinois divorces is that both parties need to sign the divorce papers in order to finalize the divorce, but this is not true.
You must make sure your spouse knows about the divorce filing, and then your spouse will have 30 days to respond. If they do not respond to the divorce filing, or file any motions of their own, the court can issue a Default Judgment. Notification of the pending default judgment must then be sent to your spouse.
What if a Spouse Cannot Be Located?
When attempts to notify your spouse of a divorce filing are unsuccessful, you must show to the court that reasonable attempts to locate your spouse have failed. You may be asked to show efforts to contact your spouse via Facebook, Google, other social media sites, and efforts to contact your spouse’s family.
If these attempts fail, you will need to get a “default by publication” divorce. This is essentially an advertisement in a county newspaper that you are asking for a judgment of divorce. It may seem unlikely that a missing spouse will read news of the divorce in a newspaper and take action within 30 days, but nevertheless, that is how it is done. With a default judgment of divorce, most items like child support and parenting time are decided according to the present spouse’s preferences.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney
If you are entering the preliminary stages of divorce and cannot get your spouse to cooperate, you need the help of an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. The law offices of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick, & Mirabella, LLC will advocate aggressively on your behalf to ensure your needs are met. Contact MKFM today at 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.