Many people in Illinois may be unhappy in their marriage and are considering a divorce. However, divorce is much more complicated than simply wanting the end of a marriage. There are many legal requirements that must be met first. Couples will need to go through property division, make determinations regarding child custody and child support if they have minor children, consider spousal maintenance (alimony) if applicable and many others.
All these divorce legal issues are typically considered during the divorce, but there are certain legal requirements simply to begin a divorce. One spouse must complete a divorce petition and personally serve it on the other spouse. After that the spouse must file the divorce petition with the court to begin the process.
This does not mean that the spouse who was served can just let the process start though. After being served with the divorce petition, that spouse must file an Appearance and Response within 30 days of being served. If the Appearance is not filed within 30 days, the other spouse could proceed by default meaning that they would receive everything they are asking for in the petition.
The Appearance states that one will be proceeding through the process. The Response is a little more complicated. The spouse must go through the petition paragraph by paragraph and state whether he or she admits or denies the allegation contained in that paragraph. If the spouse fails to specifically deny an allegation, then the assumption is that the spouse admitted it.
The Response is concluded by stating what the spouse wants the court to do with the petition. The spouse could ask for it to be dismissed in its entirety or simply ask that it deny certain requests made by the other spouse and instead to grant something else.
Experienced attorneys understand the complexities of divorce and may be a useful guide. An Illinois family law attorney can help a spouse begin a divorce and proceed through the dissolution process with knowledge and understanding.
Source: SIU School of Law, “Your rights if your spouse has filed for divorce in Illinois,” accessed on Sept. 15, 2015