Many divorces involves parties who are eager to conclude the proceedings in the most cost effective and least painful way possible. Alternatively, one party may show little inclination to involve him or herself in the process. In these situations, judges can order default judgments, which effectively dissolve a marriage. However, even when a judge enters a default judgment, the other party has a specific amount of time in which he or she can still appear in court, so if you or a loved one are considering a divorce and have concerns about an absentee spouse, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced Oak Park divorce attorney who can protect the interests of you and your children.
The first step to filing for divorce is submitting a petition to the court and to the other party. Once the petition has been filed, the other spouse, or respondent, has thirty days in which to respond to the allegations. Alternatively, if a petitioner does not know where his or her spouse is currently living, he or she can ask the court to publish the summons in a newspaper. If a court grants this request, it will also provide the petitioner with a date by which the respondent must answer.
If the respondent fails to file an answer within one month of receiving the summons or by the deadline assigned by the judge, the petitioner can file a motion with the court requesting a default judgment. If granted, the court will arrange for a hearing, at which the petitioner must testify. At this hearing, the petitioner will need to present evidence that the notice was either published appropriately in a newspaper or that it was served on the respondent. If the judge finds that all proper means have been taken to notify the respondent of the proceedings, he or she may grant a default divorce and so order the relief requested by the petitioner.
In some cases, however, these default judgments can be set aside. For instance, if a spouse files a motion with the court within thirty days of the default judgment explaining the reason for his or her absence, the court can set aside the previous judgment.
Seeking a default judgment is sometimes the only way that a person can obtain a divorce, especially if the other spouse is absent or has no interest in being involved in the proceedings. Still, courts are reluctant to grant default divorces unless they are convinced that a spouse had the opportunity to participate and chose not to, so if your spouse has not responded to your petition and you have questions about proceeding with a motion for a default judgment, please contact Arami Law at (312) 212-1399 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and dedicated attorney. In order to address your concerns as quickly as possible, our legal team can also be reached via live chat and email.
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