What are the Basic Steps for a Divorce in Illinois?

Divorce is complicated, both emotionally and legally. It requires you to commit to a legal process about which you likely know very little, and all the while, you must deal with the pain and heartbreak that goes with ending a major milestone in your life. To make the divorce process just a little more transparent, we will discuss the main steps in any Illinois divorce in this article. 

Now, regardless of whether you are entering into an amicable or contested proceeding, here the main steps that you can expect in your Illinois divorce: 

Step 1: Making the Decision to Get Divorced

Perhaps the most challenging step in any divorce is making that initial decision to get a divorce. Even if you know that it is the best thing in the long run, deciding to get a divorce still marks the end of a period of your life, means many new changes ahead, and will likely come with extraordinary emotion. Remember, however, that divorce can be the healthiest choice you can make for your own, and even your children’s, long-term happiness.

Step 2: Knowing the Requirements for a Divorce in Illinois

Illinois has a residency requirement, meaning either you or your spouse must have lived in Illinois for the past 90 days before you will be allowed to file for divorce. If neither of you is a resident of Illinois, you will need to do some more research to determine which state you have to file in. 

Step 3: Choosing a Divorce Attorney

While it is possible to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding, it is not always advisable. The most important reason not to represent yourself is that it will leave you at a legal disadvantage if your spouse hires an attorney. You may think that you can save money on an attorney because you and your spouse are looking to reach an amicable settlement. Even then, however, an experienced divorce attorney can make sure that your interests are represented in the settlement negotiations. So, it makes the most sense to hire an attorney as early in the process as possible.

Step 4: Filing out and Serving the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

Filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage initiates the divorce proceeding. Once filed, you and your attorney need to make sure that it is properly served on your spouse.

Step 5: Litigation, Discovery, and Temporary Orders

Once you serve your spouse with the Petition, they will have an opportunity to respond. Ideally, your spouse will agree to the divorce and will want to move forward amicably. If, however, you cannot come to an agreement about what needs to be divided, custody, or other issues, you will have to proceed and prepare as if the case is going to trial. 

The next steps would include providing financial information and other basic information for the proceedings. You will also begin reaching out to your spouse’s attorney to obtain answers to certain legally relevant questions and asking for documents they seek to use at trial. This process is commonly called “discovery,” and it can be confusing and time-consuming. This is another reason why you should get an experienced divorce attorney in your corner. 

In addition, while exchanging documents, you and your spouse may need to ask the court for temporary relief, such as temporary maintenance, child support, or a temporary parenting schedule.

Step 6: Mediation and Other Pretrial Settlement Opportunities

As with any litigation, the court is interested in seeing if the divorce case can be settled by agreement rather than going to trial. Thus, the judge will likely order mediation over kid-related issues and other tools to help the parties reach an agreement without going to trial. Usually, the attorneys and the judge will meet without the parties. The judge will then give their recommendation of how to resolve the divorce without going to trial.

 Step 7: The Trial (if necessary)

The last step in the divorce process is the trial. You should know that the vast majority of divorce actions are settled before there is a trial. Yet, in the unlikely event that there is a trial, the judge will hear from witnesses and examine all attorneys’ evidence. The judge will then make decisions for the parties, including decisions about finances, custody of children, and other important points of contention.

The Experienced Divorce Attorneys at Peskind Law Firm Can Help You

If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your own divorce, or you are currently looking for an Illinois divorce attorney, we welcome you to contact us at Peskind Law Firm. You can call 630-444-0701 or fill out our online contact form. Our divorce attorneys understand what a challenging time divorce can be for you. Accordingly, our experienced family law attorneys will make sure to represent your interests aggressively while helping you emotionally along the way. 

Peskind Law Firm is a family and divorce law firm based out of St. Charles, Illinois. We also serve cities throughout the Chicagoland area, including Wheaton, Geneva, Batavia, Elgin, Aurora, Naperville, Lombard, Hinsdale, and surrounding areas.