Divorce by Publication

Case Facts

This is the divorce case for Mr. Davis, who resides in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. This is a divorce case by publication since Mr. Davis does not know the whereabouts of his spouse. Here are the facts as we know them: the parties were married on May 28, 2008 in Buffalo New York. The parties separated shortly thereafter in the beginning of 2009. Thus, they have been apart for a period in excess of two years which is what is needed to prove up the grounds of irreconcilable differences. We could also use the grounds of desertion since Mrs. Davis has been gone for more than one year without any information as to her whereabouts and her departure was not caused by Mr. Davis.

Since this is a divorce by publication, the court will merely grant the divorce and nothing else. This means that all other issues concerning the parties, property, debt, retirement benefits and all other issues are going to be held in reserve. These issues can be litigated at a future date provided there is personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction over the respondent. However, in 99% of all publication divorce cases, the respondent is never found or heard from again. Thus, those issues that remain reserved likely will remain reserved forever.

The Process

The process to complete the case is as follows: we file a petition for dissolution of marriage on behalf of Mr. Davis and against Mrs. Davis. We allege the grounds of irreconcilable differences since the parties have been living separate and apart for a period in excess of two years. We serve the respondent by posting this in a publication for three consecutive weeks and by sending a copy to the last known address that we have for her. She has approximately 30 to 45 days to respond to the court and file what’s known as an appearance. If she does not do so within that timeframe, we are able to set a motion for default and prove up the case against the respondent. It is at that time, that I and Mr. Davis will appear before the court to present our case. I will ask a series of yes and no questions to Mr. Davis and the court might have some additional questions. If the court is satisfied with the documents that were filed as well as the answers to the questions presented to Mr. Davis, the judge will typically enter the judgment for dissolution of marriage instanter, which means immediately.

Divorce by publication only applies if you do not have the ability to locate your spouse and provided you have made reasonable efforts to investigate and attempt to locate your spouse. Due process requires that people be served with a summons and a petition if they can be located. Publication divorce cases are reserved for those cases in which the respondent cannot be located after a diligent inquiry and investigation.

For more information about divorce by publication and how such a case may apply to you, you can contact the office directly.