What Happens If My Spouse Files for Divorce and I Am Not Ready?

divorce, Rolling Meadows divorce lawyersWhile it can certainly be fulfilling and ultimately bring a great deal of happiness to both spouses, marriage takes a great deal of work, even in the best of circumstances. In more challenging situations, staying together might prove impossible, especially if one spouse is particularly unhappy. This can become painfully obvious if that spouse files for a divorce that you may have never seen coming. If you have recently been served with divorce papers and the request has taken you by surprise, it is time to start preparing for the road ahead.

Act Quickly

Once you have been served with divorce papers, it means that your spouse has formally filed a petition for divorce with the court. For your part, you must file a written response, or at least an appearance, within 30 days. Your response does not necessarily mean you agree to the divorce. In fact, you can directly refute any complaints or allegations your spouse may have included in the petition. If you do not file an appearance or a response in the allotted time, however, you risk being held in default, which means the process can continue without you. A default judgment against you in your divorce should be avoided at all costs.

It May Not Be Too Late

By filing a petition for divorce, your spouse has made it pretty clear he or she is ready to move on from the marriage. A relationship does not fall apart overnight; rather it deteriorates slowly over months and sometime years. If you have failed to notice a serious problem before your spouse filed, your chances of resuscitating the marriage are probably very slim. Speak to your spouse, anyway. Even if reconciliation is not a possibility, you may be able to gain some insight into his or her decision to divorce. This may be able to help you decide how to proceed from your end.

Know the Law

For the last several decades, a spouse who not accused of marital misconduct and did not want a divorce could stall the proceedings for as long as two years, as the law required 24-separation prior to granting a no-fault divorce. Today, the law is much more lenient, with no mandatory separation period whatsoever. If you decide to contest the proceedings, however, the court will accept a six-month separation as proof that your marriage has deteriorated beyond repair, and that proceeding with the divorce is reasonable.

Get Help from a Rolling Meadows Family Lawyer

If you have been served with divorce papers and uncertain of your next step, you need to contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney. We can help you draft an appropriate response to the divorce petition and will remain at your side throughout the entire divorce process. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.




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