When a person is served with a divorce Summons, he/she has a limited amount of time to formally "appear" in the action by submitting a Notice of Appearance. Just sending a note to the attorney is insufficient.
If an appearance is not received, the defendant is in default. The plaintiff then has the right to an inquest, which is basically a one-sided trial where you testify regarding your grounds for divorce and ask the Court to grant you relief. This may include custody, child support, and the distribution of property, in addition to the dissolution of the marriage. If your wife fails to appear in court, she has waived her right to contest the relief you are seeking and to seek her own relief.