Divorce in Illinois can be contentious for a wide variety of reasons, and in many divorce cases in Illinois, one of the spouses wants the divorce and the other does not. It is important to know up front that you do not need your spouse’s consent in order for the court to finalize your divorce and legally end your marriage. However, when a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers or participate in the divorce process, your divorce can be more frustrating and stressful, and it may take more time. Yet to be clear, you can get a divorce even if your spouse will not sign divorce papers. The following are some key things to know about moving forward with a divorce when your spouse does not want to end the marriage.
You Can File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Without Any Input From Your Spouse
First, you should begin working with an Illinois divorce attorney and should file a petition for dissolution of marriage under Illinois law even if you know your spouse will not consent, or will not sign the divorce papers. After you file your divorce papers, your spouse will be served and will have an opportunity to file an answer. Even if your spouse refuses, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows your case to move forward.
No-Fault Divorces in Illinois Do Not Require Your Spouse to Consent to the Divorce
Next, you should know and acknowledge that the IMDMA only allows for no-fault divorces in Illinois—there is no longer such a thing as a fault-based divorce in the state—and no-fault divorces do not require the approval, permission, or consent of your spouse. Rather, an Illinois court can grant your divorce if it finds that irreconcilable differences have caused the marriage to come to an end. As soon as you have lived separately and apart from your spouse for at least six months, the court will presume that the requirement of “irreconcilable differences” has been met.
You Will Likely Have a Contested Divorce, Which Can Take More Time and Involve Complex Legal Issues
While you can move forward with your divorce case even if your spouse will not sign—and you can do so knowing that you do not need your spouse’s consent for the divorce to be finalized—you should anticipate a contested divorce. A contested divorce is one where the spouses have not reached an agreement about one or more issues in the divorce, such as property division or the allocation of parental responsibilities. In contested divorces, a judge will need to hear the issues in dispute in order to resolve the issues and grant a divorce.
Learn More From an Illinois Divorce Attorney
Do you have questions about handling a contested divorce that has become extremely contentious? One of our experienced Illinois divorce lawyers is here to help. We know how difficult it can be to go through a divorce in which your spouse is attempting to thwart the divorce process every step of the way. The good news is that you do not need your spouse’s permission or consent to have your divorce finalized, and our firm can discuss your options with you. Contact Arami Law, Inc. today to learn more about the ways we can assist you with your divorce.