What If My Spouse Does Not Respond To The Divorce Petition After Service?

Author: Don Pioletti Posted on: . Filed in: Divorce.


Making the decision to end a marriage is a difficult and painful process; however, in most cases, it is the first step in the healing process after the relationship has deteriorated into divorce. Typically, one of the spouses takes the initiative to hire an attorney to begin the divorce process. In Illinois, the divorce process begins with the filing of the divorce petition.

If you are considering filing for divorce, the first step you should take is to contact our office to schedule a consultation. The divorce attorneys of Pioletti & Pioletti have extensive experience handling all types of divorce cases ranging from simple, uncontested divorces through complex, highly-contested divorces where the parties are arguing about everything from custody and support through the division of marital property.

What is a Divorce Summons?

When a divorce petition is filed with the court, the court will issue a summons to be served with the divorce petition on the opposing party. The summons is a legal document that informs the opposing party that a divorce action has been filed. The service of the summons and divorce petition on the opposing party is a key step in the divorce process because it also informs the responding party of the deadline for filing an answer to the divorce petition. This deadline is very important because if the opposing party fails to answer or otherwise respond to the divorce petition, he or she may be barred from participating in the divorce process.

Failing to Respond to the Divorce Petition

The opposing party has 30 days in which to file a response to the divorce petition. The party is not required by law to file an answer or otherwise respond to the allegations contained in the divorce petition unless he or she chooses to do so. However, if the opposing party does not file an answer or other response, the court may assume that the party does not want to participate in the divorce process.

When an opposing party does not file an answer, the petitioning party files a motion for default judgment asking the court to grant him or her the relief sought in the divorce petition. If the court finds the opposing party is in default, the divorce process may continue without any further notice being provided to the defaulted party. In most cases, the court will grant the relief requested by the petitioning spouse in the divorce petition provided the relief sought is not “unconscionable.”

Do Not Ignore a Divorce Summons and Petition

Because the court may continue the divorce process without further notice to a defaulted party, never ignore a summons and divorce petition. Even if you consent to the divorce and the relief sought in the petition, you still should have competent, experienced legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the court proceedings. Things can change in a divorce proceeding very quickly and you do not want to be caught unaware or without legal representation.

Time is of the essence! Contact Pioletti & Pioletti today if you have been served with a summons and divorce petition.

Contact Our Office for a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney

The divorce lawyers of Pioletti & Pioletti represent individuals who need help with a divorce or other family court matter. We assist clients throughout McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, and Peoria counties by providing compassionate, competent legal services. Contact our office at 309-938-4838 to schedule your free consultation.

When you need the assistance of an experienced family court attorney in central Illinois, call Pioletti & Pioletti. We are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional service and support throughout the divorce process.

Don Pioletti

Don Pioletti

Don B. Pioletti, Jr. was born on August 2, 1946 in Washington, Illinois. He graduated from Eureka High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree from Eureka College in 1970. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and then graduated from George Mason University Law School in 1976. He served as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General and as an Assistant State’s Attorney. From 1990 until July of 2014 he served as the Woodford County Chief Public Defense Attorney.
Don Pioletti