Illinois does not want divorce proceedings to be drawn out any longer than they have to be. While the timetable for a divorce case depends on its overall complexity, there are procedural time limits that are strictly enforced.
What Is a Default Divorce?
The party petitioning for divorce must file the proper paperwork with the clerk of the circuit court. The clerk will issue a summons, which will then be served upon the defendant. The defendant then has 30 days to file a response to the divorce petition. Failure to respond on time could result in a default judgment against the defendant. In other words, the court will issue a final judgment in favor of the petitioner, who will get what he or she asked for in the divorce petition.
Do not think that you can avoid financial obligations by ignoring a divorce petition. If the petitioner requested child support or maintenance then your wages may be garnished or a lien may be placed on your property, among other judgment enforcement methods.
Why Is the Response Important in a Divorce Case?
A divorce petition makes certain allegations against the other spouse. For example, the petition might claim that the defendant was unfaithful or that he was a bad parent. The response is the other spouse’s first opportunity to contest those allegations. This can affect everything from child custody to child support to maintenance payments.
Can I Fight a Default Judgment?
Again, timing is everything. You only have 30 days from the date the default judgment is entered to ask the court to reconsider its decision. Keep in mind that you should only file a motion to reconsider if you have new evidence to present to the court. You should not file this motion simply because you are upset with the default judgment. Valid reasons the court may reconsider a default judgment include:
- You were not legally served with the divorce notice.
- You had a health, family, or some other kind of personal emergency.
- You are a military service member and were on active duty.
You may also file a motion to vacate the judgment completely. This is a procedural decision that an experienced attorney can help you make.
Contact Us Today for Assistance in Your Default Divorce Case
The passionate Naperville family law attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC, can help you avoid or fight a default divorce judgment. Contact us today for a free consultation if your spouse has filed a petition for a dissolution of marriage. We will guide you through the divorce process and ensure that you file all of the required paperwork on time.