When Your Spouse Refuses to Participate in the Divorce Process

Wheaton divorce lawyersNormally, when one thinks of divorce proceedings, one imagines a fairly orderly process. However, a number of unexpected events can happen that can complicate matters considerably. One of the most common, though it might seem implausible, is that one spouse may simply refuse to participate in the process. When this happens, it is entirely understandable to wonder whether your divorce can go forward at all.

Grounds and Separation Questions

The question of grounds for divorce no longer plays a role in your ability to obtain one. Illinois formerly required grounds for divorce such as bigamy, impotence, and mental cruelty, but, now, a no-fault divorce will be granted simply based upon “irreconcilable differences.”

Serving the Papers

In popular culture, there is the trope that both spouses must sign the divorce papers, but in Illinois, this is not, in fact, the case. All that is required under Illinois law is that your spouse must be aware of the petition; namely, you must serve your spouse in an appropriate manner so that he or she is able to exercise their legal right to respond to the petition.

It may happen that sometimes, your spouse cannot be located. In these cases, Illinois allows you to serve your spouse via publication. To do so, you can publish notice in the relevant media outlets, usually the largest newspaper in the county with their most recent forwarding address. If you have not received a reply after 30 days, most county courts will grant you a default judgment. With a default in such situations, you will be able to obtain a divorce, though you might not be able to address all issues.

Contact a Family Lawyer

If you have questions about going through with your divorce when your spouse is less than amenable, having an experienced legal professional on your side can help immeasurably. The passionate Wheaton divorce attorneys at our firm are ready, willing and able to help you with what you need. Contact us today to set up an appointment.


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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree