Once the decision to divorce is made, couples in Illinois may feel a sense of relief. However, they may also be concerned about how their divorce will proceed. It is important, then, to have a basic idea of what the divorce process looks like, so you can know what to expect.
First, one party will hire an attorney to draft a document known as the “petition” or “complaint.” This document explains the reason for the divorce and how that party would like to see their divorce legal issues settled.
The attorney will then file this document with the court, and the document will be served on the other party. The served party will also receive a summons mandating that they reply to the petition. The served party then has a certain amount of time in which to hire an attorney to draft an “answer.” In this document the served party will explain what points in the petition they agree to and if they disagree, how they would like to see their divorce legal issues settled. If the served party does not reply in time, the assumption will be made that the served party is in agreement with all the points of the petition.
After that, the parties will exchange financial information, as well as information on their property. Following that, the parties can negotiate, perhaps with the help of a mediator, and come to a divorce settlement out-of-court. In some states mediation is mandatory. If the parties can agree to a settlement, it will be presented to the court and a judge will ensure that the spouses understand what they agreed to and did so voluntarily. If the settlement is approved, then the court will issue a divorce decree.
If, however, the parties cannot settle their divorce legal issues on their own, they will go through litigation. Each party’s attorney will supply the court with evidence at trial and will make arguments on their client’s behalf. Then the judge will make decisions regarding the parties’ divorce legal issues, and the divorce will be granted.
This post should give readers a basic understanding of the divorce process. However, it does not speak specifically to Illinois state law. To learn more about how Illinois law addresses divorce, it may be necessary to seek legal advice.
Source: FindLaw, “A Divorce Timeline,” accessed Oct. 12, 2017