To begin the process of filing for divorce, one party must submit a petition to the local Circuit Court as well as to his or her spouse. It is then up to the spouse who received the petition, or the respondent, to send an answer containing his or her response to the allegations. Failing to answer within the appropriate time frame can lead to the court issuing a default judgment, in which case the respondent will lose his or her right to pursue property division or a specific child custody arrangement. Sending an appropriate response is critical to the divorce process, so if you recently received a notice of divorce and have questions or concerns about your next steps, it is critical to contact an experienced Melrose Park divorce attorney who can walk you through the process.
An answer to a petition for dissolution serves a number of important purposes, including as:
To ensure that these purposes are fulfilled, a respondent’s answer should clearly state his or her position regarding the other spouse’s statements or proposals. Often, agreement or disagreement can be declared on a pre-printed form through checking boxes in sections that corresponds with specific statements made in the petition. However, these forms also leave space for a written explanation of the respondent’s answers as well as any of the respondent’s own suggestions.
Respondents have 30 days in which to answer the initial petition, after which a hearing will be scheduled by the court.
If a respondent receives a petition for divorce and does not provide an answer within the allotted time, the petitioner can file a motion requesting a default judgment. In most cases, the court will assume that because the other spouse did not respond, he or she agrees to the petitioner’s terms and a default judgment will be entered. However, a respondent may be able to have the judgment set aside, if he or she files a motion within thirty days of the judgment.
Dissolving a marriage and dividing marital assets can be a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process. Adhering to the court’s procedural guidelines and filing dates is critical to helping this process go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their legal obligations regarding a divorce petition and so miss out on the opportunity to take part in the proceedings. Speaking with a dedicated attorney can help avoid these types of issues, so if you live in Melrose Park and were recently served a petition for divorce, please contact us at the Arami Law by calling (312) 212-1399 or by completing one of our standard contact forms, including your name, phone number, email address, and a brief description of your case, and we’ll have a member of our legal team help you set up a consultation.
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