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What to expect in the timeline of a divorce case

Many people in Illinois who are facing a marriage that is "on the rocks" may be contemplating a move to file for divorce. People in this type of situation usually have quite a few questions about what will occur in a divorce case, if they decide to go through with it. It is important to understand the timeline of events in a divorce case.

Once the decision is made to get a divorce, one of the spouses will initiate the case by filing the appropriate petition with the proper court. From there, if the documents are all in order, those initiating documents must be "served" -- delivered -- to the other spouse. The spouse who is served with the initiating documents will then have a set amount of time to respond to the allegations contained in the initiating documents.

From that point, once the legal case is actually started, a divorce case can very much become a checklist of issues to address. Most couples must address the division of property and debt and, in some cases, spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. Couples with minor children will need to address child custody and support, which can be particularly thorny issues. Whatever the issues in each unique case, divorcing couples may be able to sort through them all in mediation or through direct negotiations. However, some will need to have the court issue a decision on these divorce legal issues.

When it is all said and done, either through agreement or a divorce trial, the family law judge will enter an order that the marriage is dissolved, which will outline the terms of the divorce. The divorced spouses are obligated to comply with that court order. Then, they are free to pursue their return to single life.

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