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2-1401 PETITIONSFor a whole host of different reasons default judgments get entered against litigants. In criminal cases defendants may miss court dates or in civil cases, a litigant may miss a filing deadline or fail to answer a complaint resulting in a default judgment being entered against him or her.

2-1401 Petitions: Default Judgments Older Than 30 Days

Default judgments that have been in effect for more than 30 days are final. The only method available to vacate a final default judgment that is beyond 30 days is by filing a 2-1401 petition. A 2-1401 petition is found in the Code of Civil Procedure at Section 2-1401, hence the name. Section 2–1401 allows for relief from final judgments more than 30 days after their entry, provided the petition proves by a preponderance of evidence certain elements. The 2-1401 must be supported by affidavit or other appropriate showing as to matters not contained in the appellate record.

To obtain relief under section 2-1401, the petitioner must affirmatively set forth specific factual allegations supporting each of the following elements:

(1) the existence of a meritorious defense or claim;

(2) due diligence in presenting this defense or claim to the circuit court in the original action; and

(3) due diligence in filing the section 2-1401 petition for relief

Time to File a 2-1401 Petition

Strict timelines apply to when a 2-1401 petition must be filed. Generally, a 2-1401 petition must be filed within 2 years from the date that the trial court entered the default judgment. However, exceptions exist to the 2-year deadline. For example, void judgments can be vacated at any time by any party.

Individuals that are under a legal disability must file a 2—1401 petition within 2-years from the time that they are not suffering from the legal disability. Additionally, any time when the ground for relief was fraudulently concealed does not count against the 2-year period.


At Jaleel Law we understand that a default judgment can have a dramatic effect on your life. From suspending your license to enhancing the sentencing range you are facing, default judgments need to be vacated as soon as possible. We know what it takes to vacate default judgments that are entered against you.

Want to find out what some of these legal terms mean?

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Jaleel Law P.C.
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Oak Brook, IL 60532


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