Divorce is usually more uncomplicated when both parties agree to part ways. But sometimes, one spouse will contest the divorce; if that happens, you might wonder about your options. This article explains the process if one party does not agree to sign the divorce papers. If you have questions about your divorce, a Chicago divorce attorney at Gordon & Perlut, LLC can help today.
A contested divorce is when one of the spouses does not agree to the divorce. This could be because the spouse disagrees with the divorce’s terms and conditions. Or they may not want to divorce at all. There are many reasons why someone might not want to sign the divorce papers and agree to part ways:
If the other party is served with divorce papers and does not want to end the marriage for one of these reasons, what happens if they do not respond and/or refuse to sign?
A spouse who receives divorce papers in Illinois also receives a summons stating they must respond. The respondent is required to file a written appearance and response with the court within 30 days. The appearance informs the court and petitioner that the respondent intends to be involved in the process. Filing an appearance is the initial step to discussing major divorce issues, including child custody, alimony, and property division.
If the respondent does not respond or sign, they are forfeiting their right to participate. You can file a motion to hold your spouse in default if the 30-day period passes without a response.
If your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition, the case can proceed without them. The court will base its decisions about significant divorce matters based on the petitioner’s requests, for the most part.
If the judge enters a default judgment against the other party and wants a say in the divorce, they can ask the court to vacate the default judgment. However, this motion to set aside the default judgment may not be granted if filed more than 30 days after the default judgment was entered.
If a spouse refuses to sign the final divorce decree, you must go to Trial. At this point, your spouse will either come to the Trial or not. During this Trial, the judge will review the divorce petition and other evidence/factors. In many cases, the court will rule in favor of the petitioning spouse, because the other spouse is not there to present a case.
Divorce is usually painful and stressful, and if the other party does not sign, you should speak to an attorney about the next steps. Our Chicago divorce attorney at Gordon & Perlut, LLC can offer legal assistance with your divorce, so call (312) 360-0250.