Divorce Q&A: What if My Spouse Doesn’t Participate in the Divorce?

At a basic level, divorce proceedings seem straightforward. However, there are a number of uncommon issues that may surface that can make it more difficult to get divorced. One of these issues is that your spouse refuses to participate in the divorce process.

One of the first questions you may wonder in this scenario is whether you can get divorced if your spouse refuses to do so. The short answer? Yes, you can.

Illinois is a No-Fault Divorce State 

No-fault means you don’t have to provide grounds for your divorce in Illinois. In the past, this included grounds such as bigamy, impotence, and mental cruelty.

Today, you can file a no-fault divorce under “irreconcilable differences” and skip the previous legal need of offering a reason for the divorce.

Your Spouse Doesn’t Have to Participate for You to Get a Divorce 

If you want to file for divorce, you have the right to do so regardless of whether your spouse agrees to the divorce. However, your spouse does need to be aware of the divorce after filing for you to proceed.

This is done by “serving” your spouse with the divorce papers. In some cases, you may not know where your spouse is. When this occurs, you can serve your spouse by publication. This means you will publish notice of the divorce in certain media outlets, typically a large newspaper, with your spouse’s most recent forwarding address. If your spouse doesn’t reply to the publication within 30 days, most counties will allow you to proceed with the judge.

The issue with a divorce without your spouse is that you can’t obtain spousal or child support. As such, there will be unresolved issues that you can reserve for future consideration should you locate your spouse.

Learn More About Your Options at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. 

As a Naperville law firm with over 35 years of expertise in divorce and family law, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is experienced in all matters of divorce. If you believe your spouse won’t cooperate with the divorce process or you aren’t sure of your spouse’s current whereabouts, contact Larry at 630-470-9990 to discuss your options during your free, 30-minute consultation. You may also schedule an appointment using our online form.

We look forward to speaking with you regarding your options, regardless of your spouse’s cooperation or other potential challenges in your case.

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