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Does a Divorce Have to be Mutual?

Posted in Divorce, Family Law on Saturday, October 1st, 2022

Realizing it’s time for a divorce can evoke many emotions and concerns. Individuals who file for divorce are often worried if their spouse will agree to it and if they’ll comply with divorce proceedings. Additionally, individuals are often unaware of their state laws regarding divorce proceedings and are confused about what to do if their spouse refuses to divorce. At Sabuco Beck, P.C., we’re here to help Illinois couples understand if divorces have to be mutual and assist with any legal proceedings. 

Can My Spouse Oppose Divorce?

While any spouse can be upset about receiving a divorce petition, Illinois has specific guidelines as to whether a spouse can choose not to go through with a divorce. If a filing spouse has begun the divorce process, a spouse’s opposition will not stop divorce proceedings in Illinois. Since Illinois is a no-fault state, meaning that nobody needs to be proven at fault for the marriage’s end, a filing spouse doesn’t need to worry about proving fault. Typically, this makes it easier if spouses refuse divorce, as they don’t need their spouse’s cooperation in determining fault. Illinois will grant divorces on two grounds: the couple had irreconcilable differences that led to the failed marriage, or the couple has been separated for at least six months. If Illinois courts can determine that either of these factors is true, they can grant a divorce, even if the divorce is not mutual between spouses. 

What Should I Do if My Spouse Refuses Divorce?

When a spouse is provided with initial divorce papers, they have 30 days to respond, which includes filing for an appearance at the courthouse. If the spouse refuses to sign the papers and take the steps necessary to begin divorce proceedings, the divorce can transition to a default divorce. During a default divorce, the court acknowledges that the spouse has not met the requirements necessary for divorce proceedings, though this doesn’t stop the divorce from happening. Typically in a default divorce, the filing spouse will receive what they wished for in the divorce petition, though this may not always be the case. 

In certain situations, a divorce may not be mutual if a spouse can’t be located. In this instance, the filing spouse can request a serve by publication. A notice will be published in a local newspaper where the spouse is presumed to reside, informing them of the divorce petition. However, the filing spouse must prove that they have made significant efforts to find their spouse and may be required to show proof of having done so, such as text messages and emails. 

How Can an Attorney Help My Case?

Oftentimes, individuals can become overwhelmed trying to fill out the necessary paperwork for their divorce and trying to understand their rights in Illinois.

At Sabuco Beck, P.C., we can help you understand the right process to take if your spouse does not agree to a divorce. Going through with a divorce when your spouse is non-compliant is difficult, though not impossible. Our firm is here to help you with all of your legal needs. 

Contact Us Today

Our team is here to help you during your Illinois divorce. Contact us today to learn more about our services. 

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