My wife left two years ago immediately following a mastectomy. She apparently moved to Illinois where she filed for divorce thru the Washington State (our home ) courts. I was served several months later and then at the hearing she failed to show, then at the trial a lawyer showed and had the case dismissed. Now two years later, I find I have been sued for divorce in Illinois and that a judgement has been issued. How do I find out details of the judgement and how does the State of Illinois have jurisdiction over me as a resident of Washington State?
Good morning,I'm sorry to hear of the situation.Each state has the ability to enter a divorce decree so long as at least one spouse is a resident of that state for the required amount of time---which in most states is 6 months.The state of Illinois would have acquired jurisdiction over you by you having been personally served with the summons and complaint for divorce. I'm a bit confused as you do not mention that you ever received service of the Illinois divorce action---simply that you have now become aware of a decree. if that is truly the case, it is possible that the divorce decree may be attacked based on a failure of service. If you were served with the lawsuit, but you did not file a response to that lawsuit, the court did have the legal ability to enter a divorce decree in your marriage---based on your wife being a resident of the state and you having been personally served with the lawsuit.However, without your consent to jurisdiction in the Illinois case---which you would have given by the filing of a response to the divorce suit---the Illinois court could not render a judgment concerning any real property in any other state other then Illinois. So, if there is marital real property in WA, or in any other state, the issue of which of you is entitled to that real property has not been ruled on by the Illinois court.You may get all the details of the Illinois divorce and the decree by going to the Illinois court---or having someone go there for you, and simply making a copy of the court's case file. A legal copy service, or a private court reporting company, operating in the area of the court where the divorce was filed, can get a copy of the court file for you for a fee.You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation, and I trust you agree that it would be unfair for me to be punished by a (negative rating) ----the first 2 stars/faces----for having been honest with you about the law.I wish you the best in 2012,Doug
Thank-you for your reply. It essentially tells me what prior research has provided me. I was served in the Washington State action almost two years ago, but as I said she failed to appear at the hearing, the judge commenting that ten years on the bench and she had never had a petitioner that failed to show, then a lawyer showed at the trial and had case dismissed.
I was never served in the Illinois case. My sister who lives in Illinois called me and told me that in Illinois after two years of separation that the court can grant a divorce and that I should look into the Cook County Court website. It was there that I learned of the action filed against me.
Two years ago she had gone to her sister's home in Chicago after her mastectomy presumably to facilitate her recovery. i was very supportive as she was so devastated and she had lost her spirit. She did not return three weeks later when she was scheduled to.
This is the second time in 12 years that she went to her sisters home and failed to return. Each time that this happened within three weeks of my wifes arrival her sister takes out an additional mortgage on the house. I know she paid the first one while there 12 years ago. I speculate that the same is happening now. This info on mortgages is available at the Cook County Recorder's office.
12 years ago she was gone for almost 11 months. She is Filipino and I actually went to the Philippines spoke to her father and got things straightened out. When we got back together several months after returning she let me know that her sister "hated white people" which totally floored me as every Filippino I had ever met was very warm and loving. I know that playing the race card sounds totally lame but it is very VERY real in this circimstance.
Her sister is the "ATTE" or second mother in the family which is very common in large philippino families. Their mother dropped dead when the atte or oldest was 16 the youngest 3 and there are 9 altogether. Because of this the atte has huge power over the others. Then she got them all thru university and then over to America, all the while building and consolidating huge power over each of them.
My wife is the one that everyone seemed to come to when they needed money, lots of money. She is a nurse and does very well. Well when she married me I made her realize that so the money train ended. I wonder if that is why only one brother ever introduced himself to me. Her father loved me.
I am sorry too much dialog.
I do wonder could service of summons be done through publication in either Illinois or Washington?
If I choose to attack the divorce by "failure of service" will I need an Illinois attorney or will a Washington attorney suffice?
Sorry for all the extra info. It may indeed be strange, but i still miss my wife just as if she left a week or two ago. I would just like to ascertain what SHE would like to do. At this point I can handle a divorce. Having to finally recognize the loss of my friend is the hard part.
Thanks. I am obviously desparate so your help is greatly appreciated.
Good morning,The lawsuit which was filed in WA is not the lawsuit you needed to be served with. It was the Illinois suit.You say that the court issued a divorce decree in your marriage and that you were never personally served with the divorce suit form Illinois. I am saying that if that did happen that you may petition the court to Set Aside the Default Judgment if you wish and they will be obligated to do that.You stated: When we got back together several months after returning she let me know that her sister "hated white people" which totally floored me as every Filippino I had ever met was very warm and loving. I know that playing the race card sounds totally lame but it is very VERY real in this circimstance. I am surprised as well. I personally know dozens of Filipinos, and my sister in law is Filipino herself----the hatred of the sister does seem very unusual.Like WA, service of a summons can be done through publication---but ONLY after your wife certified to the court under penalty of perjury that she made a diligent effort to locate you and was unable to do so----this would require that she contact other family members, contact the post office, etc---and unless you have been in hiding---that seems a real stretch. So, again, you could attack the judgment based on the failure of service of process and based on a fraudulent affidavit filed by your wife claiming she could not locate you to effectuate service.To attack the default judgment you will absolutely need a local Illinois attorney licensed in the state and preferably familiar with the county court and judges there.You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.Would you please rate me highly now, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law.I wish you the best in 2012,Doug
JFYI my wife's youngest brother became a doctor and married a Filippina doctor. They had one child and then divorced. Three years later while working at Cook County hospital he met a nice "white" doctor's assistant. They hit it off, dated for about two years, and then got married. This was about a month before I met my wife. This two, according to my wife, was when the atte suddenly realized how much she hated whites. It also explained why my wife and I could live together for five years before the sister knew about me. When she did find out about me is the first time my wife failed to return 12 years ago. As it has been explained to my by several Philippinos, when I went to the PI and talked to their father, the atte put me on the top of her "people to destroy" list as I had caused her to lose face. Losing face is a BIG deal in the Philippines.
So she just waited and waited and when my wife was as low as she had ever been following her mastectomy, the atte made her move.
Obviously my wife is damaged and comes with a lot of baggage. I have come a long way in two years and have accepted a lot.
As far as certifying to the court that she could not locate me, I find that hard to believe as I was in email contact with two of her brothers fairly regulary. She has a Toyota that is specifically hers and I tried diligently to repatriate it to her over the last two years. Her older brother offered to let me leave it at his home in Chicago, but would not sign for it so I kept the offer open but only if I could get a signature.
The other brother, the one that had met me, just expressed that he was broken hearted over any impending divorce and could not understand why.
Three of the sisters regulary sent me some pretty viscious emails that at first I let hurt me, but then just realized that they were all angry.
I got on the internet about two months ago and was able to find my current address (same for the last 15 months) my email address, and my phone number which at the time was only about two months old.
Why couldn't an attorney do the same thing?
Thanks no need to reply you have been very helpful.
Ingat ka kaibigan mo.
Thank you for your kind words.Would you please rate me highly now, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law. That is the only way that I am compensated for assisting you.I wish you well in your future,Doug
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