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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

What is the Illinois Divorce Process?

Schaumburg divorce lawyer

Family Law Attorney for Dissolution of Marriage in Chicago and Cook County

The end of a marriage is a stressful time for everyone involved, and it is easy to become overwhelmed, especially if you do not know what to expect from the legal process of getting a divorce. While the specific details will vary from case to case, there are certain commonalities among all divorces in the State of Illinois. When you understand how the divorce process will play out, you can better prepare for each step as you work toward your desired outcome.

At The Law Offices of George J. Skuros, when we represent you, our priority is to educate you about the divorce process and maintain regular communication to ensure that you stay informed about all important developments. With over 30 years of legal knowledge and experience, we can guide you through the process and help you make the best possible decisions on the path to a fair resolution.

Filing For Divorce in Illinois

According to Illinois law, there are only two prerequisites for filing for divorce. First, one or both spouses must have resided or been stationed for military service in Illinois for the past 90 days. Second, the marriage must have undergone an "irretrievable breakdown" due to irreconcilable differences. It is not necessary to demonstrate marital misconduct, such as infidelity or abandonment, on the part of your spouse, and there is no requirement that you are living apart or legally separated at the time of filing for divorce, though if you have been living apart for at least six months, the court will consider this to be sufficient evidence of irreconcilable differences.

Filing for divorce is the first official step in the legal process of ending a marriage, but you can take several important steps to prepare ahead of time. This includes consulting with an attorney and gathering all of your financial documents to help you protect your interests. If you and your spouse want to pursue an uncontested divorce, you can also work together to reach an agreement regarding property division, spousal maintenance, parental responsibilities, and child support before filing. You can then submit your agreement along with your petition for divorce, potentially allowing you to complete the divorce process much more efficiently.

What Happens After Filing For Divorce?

If you are the one to file for divorce, you will also need to serve notice to your spouse. If, on the other hand, your spouse files for divorce and you are served notice, you will need to file your response with the court within 30 days or risk a default judgment in which you have no input. You should also hire your own attorney to advise and represent your interests throughout the process.

Any outstanding disagreements between spouses at the time of filing will need to be resolved before the divorce is finalized. The court will generally initiate a period of discovery, allowing you and your spouse, with the assistance of your legal representatives, to exchange relevant information and documents. Usually, the primary purpose of the discovery period is to ensure that both parties have a full understanding of each other's income and assets for the purposes of reaching an equitable resolution on any financial matters.

Whenever practical, the court will encourage you and your spouse to reach a divorce settlement through negotiation, in which your respective attorneys can help you protect your interests. In some cases, you may be ordered to attend mediation, in which a neutral third party will guide discussions to help you reach an agreement. However, if settlement attempts are unsuccessful, or if the court determines it is best to proceed without them, your divorce may be resolved in a trial. In this case, each spouse and their attorney will have the opportunity to present evidence and make their case in court, and the judge will then decide on the terms of the divorce decree.

Upon the legal dissolution of the marriage, the divorce order becomes legally binding, and any violations of its terms may be grounds for charges of contempt of court. However, it is possible to petition for the modification of some elements of the decree, including parenting time, parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal support, as circumstances change in the future.

Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer

In order to better understand how the divorce process will apply to your case, we encourage you to contact us at 312-884-1222 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout the divorce process in Cook County, Chicago, and the surrounding areas, including Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Arlington Heights, Inverness, Schaumburg, and the North Shore.

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