Divorce is typically less contentious and difficult when both parties agree to end the marriage. But sometimes, one party will not want to end the marriage, so it is understandable to wonder ‘What now?’ This article explains the path forward if one spouse does not want to sign the divorce papers. If you have questions, our divorce lawyers in Chicago can help you today.

What Is A Contested Divorce In Illinois?

A contested divorce means that the spouses do not agree on the outcome of their divorce and a judge will need to decide. This might be because a spouse disagrees with the conditions or terms of the divorce. Or, they may want to try to preserve the marriage. There are many reasons that a person may not want to sign the settlement papers and end the divorce:

  • Disagreement over the financial terms
  • Inability to agree on which parent will be able to make parenting decisions for their minor children
  • Fears their children’s needs will not be met
  • Out of spite for the other spouse
  • Religious beliefs
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of others judging them
  • Fear of the financial impact of a divorce

If you serve your spouse with divorce papers but he or she does not want to end the marriage or is unwilling to settle, what is the next step if they fail to respond or do not sign?

Not Responding To A Divorce Petition

A spouse in Illinois who gets divorce papers will also receive a Summons informing that action must be taken within a certain time limit. The spouse who was served is required to personally or through an attorney file with the Clerk of the Court a form known as an Appearance. The Appearance is due within 30- days from the day following service. Filing an appearance is the initial step to addressing significant aspects of the divorce, including property division, child custody, alimony, and division of property.

If t your spouse does not respond within 30 days, you may file a motion to hold your partner in default.

Illinois Default Divorce Overview

If a spouse does not answer the divorce petition and is held in default, the divorce may move forward without their input. The divorce court will base the upcoming decisions about the divorce based on the evidence the filing spouse presents, without input or rebuttal from the other side.

If the divorce judge decides on a default divorce judgment and the other party responds, they can ask the divorce court to throw out the judgment. However, the motion to set aside the judgment must happen within 30 days of the final decision.

What If They Will Not Sign The Divorce Papers?

If the parties cannot come to terms, the court may direct them to take certain steps to help resolve the case without a trial. These steps may include mediation, the appointment of a financial neutral, a guardian or child’s representative to facilitate a consensus on parenting issues, etc. If these efforts fail, the likely next step is for a trial, where the judge reviews the evidence, hears testimony, and ultimately makes the decisions unresolved by the parties.

Contact Our Divorce Lawyers In Chicago Today

Divorce is usually stressful and difficult, but if the other party fights it or does not respond, you may wonder if you will ever move on with your life. Fortunately, you can still end the marriage even if the other party is disagreeable. Contact our divorce lawyers in Chicago. Michael C. Craven can offer quality legal advice, so please call (312) 621-5234.

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