When a couple decides to get divorced, both spouses usually agree that the relationship has come to an end and participate in the divorce process together. Sometimes, however, one spouse opposes the divorce and refuses to cooperate. Other times, a spouse is missing and cannot be located. In these cases, the partner who wants to file for divorce may be desperate to get out of an abusive, unhappy, or defunct relationship but may not be sure where to begin. Fortunately, something called a default divorce judgment is available in Illinois that may be useful to people to find themselves in these situations.
An Uncooperative Spouse
In times past, spouses could prevent the finalization of a divorce simply by not participating in the divorce process or by contesting the other spouse’s alleged version of events. This left many people trapped in unhappy or abusive marriages. Now, when one spouse files for divorce, the other spouse has only 30 days to file a response (except in certain cases, such as with deployed military spouses). If a spouse decides not to respond in time, the spouse who initially filed for divorce can petition for a default divorce and the proceedings will move forward without the participation of the other spouse.
When a default divorce is granted, the spouse filing for divorce usually gets the terms they ask for. After all, without input from the other spouse, a judge has no idea whether the spouse has any preferences at all. This includes issues like parental responsibilities, parenting time, property division, and possibly even spousal support. However, the petitioner’s requests must be within reason, and must also be determined to be in the best interests of any minor children.
An Imprisoned or Missing Spouse
If your spouse is in jail, you can still get divorced. He or she will be easy to find and serve papers to, and will still have the option to respond or not respond. If he or she does not respond, the divorce proceeds as usual to a default judgment; if he or she does respond and contests the divorce, the divorce will continue as with other contested divorces.
If a spouse is missing, a default judgment can still be granted, but only after the petitioning spouse can prove he or she has made a good faith effort to locate and inform the spouse of the desire to divorce. If you are not sure where your spouse is, contact an attorney for help.
Meet with a St. Charles Divorce Attorney
Understanding how a default divorce judgment works may be necessary in your case to ensure you can leave a bad marriage. If you have questions about default divorce or want to file for divorce but are not sure where to start, the experienced Kane County family law attorneys with [[title]] can help. Call us today at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation and get started.