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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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I received a summons for divorce in Illinois. It stated I need to file an answer and/or ot

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I received a summons for divorce in Illinois. It stated I need to file an answer and/or otherwise file an appearce in the matter. I filled an appearance per my attorneys instructions however I did not file an answer. Do I have to file an answer since it said and/or otherwise? We have no kids, no joint finances, no joint property and everything has already been split. We are not fighting over anything therefore I was advised I didn't need an attorney since its a nothing/nothing divorce and to just read over the document and sign it. We also had a pre-nup.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Hello there:

Thank you for entrusting me with your question. The general rule is that a Summons for Divorce in Illinois must be responded to either with an answer or a general appearance within 30 days of service. Unless your attorney has told you otherwise, there would be no reason to believe that an exception would apply. An exception would not be created by children, finances, property holdings, or the existence of a pre-nuptial agreement. You have essentially stated that this is a low-conflict, unexceptional, "easy" divorce--I would typically see no reason why any alternative course of action would need to be taken.


I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I sent a copy of the appearance to his attorney as required, within the allotted 30 days. I in turn received another letter from his attorney today stating he received the copy of the Appearance however did not receive my Answer. It asks if I'm going to file an aswer? Am I going to simply concede to an agreement? It then says he needs a response by Dec 2nd in order to aoid filing a Motion for Default Judgement in the matter. Can a default judgement be granted if I did what I was supposed to do?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
I apologize for the slight delay. Help me understand the dynamics better. Generally speaking, an attorney may not contact a represented party directly. Do you have an attorney representing you in your case?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I indicated I will be representing myself since my attorney told me I didn't need him for this matter.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Well, my answer is basically unchanged. If you look at the language in the summons itself, it is "required to file an answer to the Petition.... or otherwise file your appearance... within 30 days after service". The attorney who helped you has actually seen the petition so I might also ask him for reassurance that an exception does not apply in your case and (ideally) communicate with the opposing counsel on your behalf to get his take on things. However, the communication makes me uneasy, and since I am not there in person to deal with the situation, my inclination would typically be to play it safe and just file an answer anyway. There is no harm in filing both, so if there is risk then eliminate the risk. Even if you do not need to file an answer and even if the opposing counsel filed for default and lost, it would still be less work and anxiety on your end to file an answer now--so if there is no harm in filing it might be worth avoiding the conflict anyway if you are unrepresented. Unfortunately, this is where I reach my limit--I can give the law, but I cannot apply it to your situation or tell you what to do since I am not there in person to fix the problem per se. I hope that this helps even if the solution is not perfect.
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