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Chicago Divorce Attorney Explains the Illinois Divorce Process

Family law attorney helping you take control of your divorce and regain control of your life in Chicago

At the Arami Law Office, we know how important it is that our clients understand the divorce process. Knowing what to expect and how we’ll be there to assist you can give you peace of mind during this tumultuous time.

As with any process, the more advance planning you do, the easier your divorce can be. Prior to divorce, spouses have great influence on the tone of the proceedings and whether the process is cooperative or adversarial. It is helpful to have an open discussion with your spouse about your plans after marriage. Competing goals, such as custody of the children and ownership of certain assets, often require litigation. But if you and your spouse are not at odds about parenting or property issues, you may be able to work collaboratively on your divorce and reach a settlement agreement even before you file. An experienced family law attorney can counsel you on methods for obtaining an uncontested divorce.

Crucial steps in your Chicago divorce

Most Illinois divorces follow a similar pattern. You can expect your marital dissolution to involve these aspects:

  • Eligibility — To file for divorce in Illinois, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six months.
  • Jurisdiction — A spouse seeking divorce must file in the court of a county where one of the spouses resides.
  • Grounds — The filing party must decide whether to allege grounds such as adultery or cruelty or to file for a no-fault divorce by citing irreconcilable differences.
  • Filing — The spouse who files the divorce papers at the county court is known as the petitioner. The other spouse is the respondent.
  • Service of process — The petitioner must arrange to have the divorce petition and a summons to appear delivered to the respondent. The way this is handled can influence the tone of future proceedings. Embarrassing your spouse can cause bitterness; a courteous phone call arranging a time and place for service sets a professional tone.
  • Answer — The respondent has 30 days to file a written response to the petition.
  • Discovery — The spouses must disclose their financial information. In contested divorces, negotiations of ancillary issues begin after a value has been established for the marital estate.
  • Pretrial conference — This is an informal hearing in the judge’s chambers. The court checks on the progress of the negotiations and makes nonbinding recommendations regarding a settlement. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses present their signed settlement agreement at this time.
  • Settlement — When the spouses reach an agreement, their attorneys draft a document for the court. Judges usually approve negotiated settlements and incorporate the terms into the divorce decree. It also accepts partial settlements, with the remaining issues being held over for trial.
  • Trial — Depending on the court’s calendar, the wait for a trial date may be up to six months. During that time, your attorney prepares your case by assembling documents, deposing any witnesses and consulting experts if necessary. When the trial date comes, both sides present their case to the judge, who rules on the issues and enters a final divorce judgment.

For answers about the Illinois divorce process, contact our Chicago attorney

If you’re considering divorce, you want an attorney on whom you can rely at every stage of the process Contact the Arami Law Office today at 312-212-1399 or online for a free initial consultation. Our firm serves clients inside the Loop and throughout the entire Chicago, Illinois region.

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