Every divorce in Illinois starts with the filing of certain paperwork in the appropriate court. However, there are many other steps to consider before filing. Divorce is often a very confusing process, and legal help is essential. Below, our Illinois divorce lawyers outline the steps to take before filing for divorce.
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state and has done away with “grounds” for divorce, such as infidelity or abandonment. Instead, a court will grant a divorce if the marriage has broken down and future attempts at reconciliation would be futile.
Whether a marriage is “irretrievably broken” is rarely in dispute. However, 750 ILCS 5/401 states that if you have lived apart for six straight months before filing for a divorce, then you have conclusively proven this fact.
You can only request a divorce from the correct court. In Illinois, you must have lived in the state for at least 90 days before filing. This means you cannot “fly in” and get a quickie divorce, as Illinois courts will lack necessary jurisdiction to hear your case.
You also must file for divorce in the county where either spouse lives. For example, it might be more convenient to file in the county where you live if your soon-to-be ex lives somewhere else.
You can only divorce with a court’s approval, and you must submit necessary information using certain forms. Each county requests slightly different forms, so visit your local court to obtain the correct paperwork.
Generally, everyone will need to complete and submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This form requests certain information, such as each spouse’s age, the date of marriage, and information about the couple’s children. You might qualify to request a joint simplified divorce in certain circumstances.
Those who are divorcing with children have even more paperwork requirements. For example, a judge will want to see a parenting plan and a visitation schedule. Your county court might have forms for you to complete, or you can work with an attorney to ensure you are submitting all the appropriate forms.
You can file your paperwork with the county clerk. Prepare to pay the filing fee, which can be several hundred dollars, depending on the court. You should call ahead of time to find out the exact amount and acceptable methods of payment. If you are unable to pay, request a fee waiver form.
Your spouse gets a chance to respond to the allegations in your petition, so they must receive a copy of any paperwork you file. Service of process is not optional; you must follow specific rules for making proper service. Typically, you will have the sheriff or a private process server hand the paperwork to your spouse.
A divorce is often more complicated than many people anticipate. For this reason, hiring an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer is in your best interests. For immediate help, contact Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. today to request a consultation.
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Thank you, Demetrios, for your tenacity, attentiveness and patience in working with me in finalizing my divorce. God Bless
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I recommend Demetrios Dalmares with the highest praise as a divorce attorney. My divorce was settled quickly and without any unnecessary drama. I was updated regularly regarding the progress of my case. He was extremely knowledgeable, diligent and persistent. Demetrios Dalmares was clearly working in my best interest and the best interest of my three children. He is definitely the attorney you want on your side when going through a divorce. I cannot thank or recommend him enough!
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Husband: Couple shared ownership in a business, resulting in complex property division issues. After investigation of the couple’s financial history, our client received a much more equitable divorce agreement than what was originally offered.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Mother: Father became aggressive and violent toward Mother during their separation, prompting her to seek full custody of their children. At trial, the court granted Father supervised parenting time only and Mother was awarded child support.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Husband: Couple had been locked in a contentious divorce for nearly three years and changed lawyers several times. Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. provided the experience and organization needed to resolve the case within months, avoiding a trial for our client.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Wife: Wife left a successful career to raise children. When Husband denied spousal support based on Wife’s previous earnings, Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. countered with evidence that retraining was needed, and our client was awarded spousal support.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Wife: Husband tried to intimidate Wife into a divorce settlement that heavily favored his interests by drawing out the case. Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Wife through trial, where she received an equitable share of marital assets.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Father: Mother began cohabitating with a new partner who made significantly more than our client. Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. successfully demonstrated that the new relationship justified a modification and obtained a favorable outcome through negotiation.