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How Can I Get Divorced in Illinois If My Spouse Is Missing?

 Posted on June 18, 2024 in Divorce

Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerIllinois law has prescribed a certain process for divorce. This process begins when you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where you live. You must then serve a copy of the petition to your spouse, who will have 30 days to respond.

But what if your spouse is missing? If you do not know your spouse’s whereabouts, it can make the process more complicated. This article will discuss what to do if you cannot locate your spouse. An attorney can best guide you through these steps as well as the divorce process as a whole.

Document Your Efforts

You will want to show a judge that you made every effort to locate your spouse. Make sure to document the steps you take, such as:

  • Serving your spouse the divorce papers at his or her last-known residence

  • Reaching out to your spouse through as many digital media as possible, including text messages, phone calls, emails, and social media messages

  • Contacting members of your spouse’s family

  • Contacting your spouse’s close friends

  • Contacting your spouse’s employer

  • Searching for your spouse in publicly available search engines and registries

  • Posting notices for your spouse in public spaces such as social media or on telephone poles

Divorce By Publication

If you still fail to locate your spouse, Illinois law provides a last-resort option called divorce by publication. This involves placing a notice in the local newspaper about your divorce. The notice must follow certain legal guidelines and must include the name of your spouse, the fact that you have filed for divorce, the city and county in which you filed, and the deadline your spouse has to respond. You must obtain a court order for divorce by publication.

Default Judgment

If your spouse does not respond by the deadline — which is at least 45 days — then the court may grant you a default judgment. A default judgment means that the divorce will proceed without your spouse. The judge will be likely to grant you the divorce along with any related requests you make, such as child custody arrangements and property division. Keep in mind that the court will only grant your requests within reason. 

The process does not end there, however. Once a default judgment is issued, your spouse will still have 30 days to respond to the court, in which case it is possible that the decision can be overturned.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Divorce Attorney

Being unable to locate your spouse can mean a drawn-out and more complicated divorce process. There are many legal steps that need to be taken and documents that must be filed with the court. A Wheaton, IL divorce lawyer can make this process smoother and simpler.

At A. Traub & Associates, we are intimately familiar with the divorce process and what to do if you cannot locate your spouse. Our skilled attorneys will guide you through your divorce from beginning to end with professionalism and compassion. Call 630-426-0196 to get started today.

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