Son was not a child from this marriage. Son was the Guardian of the Person and the Estate of his father.  Son filed a petition for dissolution of marriage for his father. The Court granted the divorce. The Court also saved all property issues to be determined. This is called a bifurcated divorce.

The Wife’s attorneys asked the Court to undo the divorce. The Wife was waiting for the Probate Court to open a Guardianship for her. Her mental sharpness had rapidly declined. She was not able to agree to things herself. She needed a Guardian to help her.

The Court would not undo the bifurcated divorce.   The Court believed that there was no objection to the bifurcated judgment from the Wife’s divorce attorneys. The Court believed that Wife’s divorce attorneys were only waiting for the guardianship to be filed.

The Wife appealed.  The Appellate Court said that the Trial Court should have vacated the bifurcated divorce. The Appellate Court did not see any evidence that the Wife’s attorneys had agreed to the bifurcated divorce. Even if the Wife’s divorce attorneys expected to go ahead with the bifurcated divorce, it was the Guardian who would be making any such decisions. The Trial Court needed to have the Guardian actually approve the bifurcated divorce. The Trial Court cannot presume what the Guardian would do? Otherwise, why have a Guardian in the first place.

“Giving consent and offering no objection are different acts.” The Wife’s divorce attorneys did not have a specific objection to the birfurcated divorce. But, that is not the same as giving Wife’s consent.

In re Marriage of Faletti, 2017 IL App (3d) 160323, April 27, 2017.

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