The Basics of an Illinois Divorce!
There is no way to sugar coat it: divorce is UGLY. What was once an endless love, full of potential, has now withered into something that neither party wants to move on with any longer. While there are a multitude of reasons for why couples get divorced, it does not always have to be a long and drawn out process, depending on the circumstances. Most divorces in Illinois follow a similar pattern.
1. You must meet the residency requirements of the state.
You or your spouse must be a resident of the state (or stationed in Illinois as a member of the armed services) for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce.
2. You must have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage.
a. The judge needs to find that there are irreconcilable differences which have “caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” b. If you and your spouse have been living in separate residences for six months, “irreconcilable differences” are assumed by the court.
3. Next, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse.
a. These papers, at minimum, contain a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons to your spouse. b. The Summons cannot be served by you, as a party to the lawsuit. We recommend using a local Sheriff Department, or, where applicable, a private process server.
4. If your spouse disagrees with anything in your divorce papers, this is their time to file an Answer to your Petition.
a. If the answers are extremely conflicting compared to the allegations in the Petition, this may lead a judge to rule that the divorce is contested and ultimately lead into a series of consecutive hearings/mediations to sort out the issues. b. However, if your spouse agrees with everything in the Petition, they should be in contact to sort out the final matters in an uncontested divorce. c. If your spouse fails to answer, the court may rule that the matter is uncontested by default.
5. If you and your spouse disagree about any property or issues with children, this will need to be addressed through hearings/mediation.
Unfortunately, disagreements happen! Especially when it comes time to separate marital property and parenting time with children. When someone says “I had to pay my lawyer so much money . . .”; this is probably what their money was going towards.
At Hampleman Law, LLC, we recognize that people are humans and humans sometimes have to make tough life decisions such as calling it quits on a marriage. As your legal counsel, we won’t fight for you, but we’ll fight with you to make sure that you’re getting everything you deserve in a divorce proceeding. Please contact us today for a free, initial consultation!