Can Someone Refuse to Get Divorced in Illinois?

By Heather Frances J.D.

Spouses often divorce because they cannot seem to get along, and sometimes that struggle carries over into the divorce process. In Illinois, one spouse can make the divorce process more difficult by disputing many steps along the way. However, though a spouse who opposes a divorce can make it take longer and cost more, he cannot actually prevent it from happening if the other spouse is determined to divorce.

Spouses often divorce because they cannot seem to get along, and sometimes that struggle carries over into the divorce process. In Illinois, one spouse can make the divorce process more difficult by disputing many steps along the way. However, though a spouse who opposes a divorce can make it take longer and cost more, he cannot actually prevent it from happening if the other spouse is determined to divorce.

Grounds

Illinois allows both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. If you want a no-fault divorce, which requires little proof, and your spouse will not agree to the divorce, you must live separate and apart from your spouse for at least two years before you can get the divorce without his cooperation. In Illinois, you don’t necessarily have to live physically apart from your spouse to qualify for a no-fault divorce, so living together in the same residence after your marriage breaks down may qualify as living “separate and apart.” If your situation qualifies for one of Illinois’s fault-based grounds, you can file your divorce on that ground, but you must prove the ground is valid. Fault grounds include impotence, adultery, habitual drunkenness for two years and desertion for one year. If your spouse contests your chosen ground, he may delay the divorce process even more.

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Filing for Divorce

To begin the divorce process, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the county where you live. Your petition must give basic information about your marriage, including your proposed grounds for divorce, and address key issues like property division and custody. Once you file the petition, you must serve your spouse with the petition and other paperwork. If he does not want the divorce, he can answer your petition by contesting the grounds and terms.

Mediation

If you and your spouse cannot reach agreement on the terms of your divorce, you can voluntarily go to mediation or an Illinois court may order it. The goal of mediation is to help you reach agreement, but if you cannot come to agreement on all terms, your case will proceed to trial. The judge will then determine the terms of your divorce, deciding any issues you could not agree upon.

Default

If your spouse simply chooses not to respond to your divorce petition because he doesn’t want the divorce, you can proceed with a default divorce as soon as 30 days after you served him. You must prove you served him with the paperwork so the court knows he had a chance to respond. Then, you may file a motion for default judgment, asking the Illinois court to grant your divorce — including all the terms you listed in your petition — even though your spouse has not responded.

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The Time Frame to Adjudicate Divorce Default in New York

References

Related articles

What to Do If Your Spouse Filed an Uncontested Divorce & You Did Not Know?

A divorce doesn't start out as uncontested – it ends that way. In most states, uncontested simply means that spouses have reached an agreement on all issues so they can divorce without a trial. In some states, however, it can also mean that the defending spouse has done nothing toward taking an active part in the proceedings. If this happens to you because you're unaware that your spouse has filed for divorce, you often have recourse.

Can Only One Party File in a No-Fault Divorce?

If spouses always had to file for divorce together, it would most likely drop the divorce rate to something close to zero. Your spouse's cooperation is not required when you file, even if you choose not to cite fault grounds in your divorce complaint or petition. A no-fault divorce is not the same as an uncontested divorce, in which spouses reach an agreement regarding all issues. In this case, they can file a petition together in many states.

Divorce by Default

A divorce by default is one of the simplest ways to divorce. It generally occurs when one spouse doesn’t answer a divorce complaint within the required time frame. Sometimes, when spouses are in agreement as to the grounds and terms of the divorce, they might decide to obtain a divorce by default as a way to avoid the additional paperwork involved in completing an uncontested divorce process. Each state has its own set of rules regarding fees, service and documents concerning the divorce process. You can use an online legal document service to prepare and file all your divorce paperwork.

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