The Anatomy of an Illinois Divorce
When a couple decides to get a divorce, there are several different ways it can go. However, though the individual characteristics may change, there are certain constants in the process. Many couples find them a source of certainty, especially if there are still some disputes between the spouses.
Before you are even permitted to file for a dissolution of marriage in Illinois (the official legal name for a divorce) you must fit certain requirements. The primary qualification you must have is residency; Illinois mandates that either you or your spouse must have lived there for at least 90 days before filing.
Also, many believe that having an attorney present is necessary. This is not the case under Illinois law; the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does not even mention attorneys in its provisions. Most local courts, including Cook County, do permit pro se parties, or parties representing themselves (it is always best to check with your specific circuit just to be certain, however). Despite this, it is always a good idea to obtain professional advice, especially in a contested divorce.
Filing and Beyond
To actually file a divorce petition, the easiest way is to simply appear at a courthouse physically and file the petition with the domestic relations division. You must ensure that your spouse is served with the petition, but most of the time, service of process is handled by a hired process server or the local sheriff’s office.
Once your petition is officially received, it will be put on the calendar. Most couples want to know how long it will take to come up for a hearing, but unfortunately, there are no hard and fast answers. If you have very little to contest, you may find your business concluded within a month to six weeks. If you dispute everything, it may take over a year. The key is communication, both with each other and with your attorneys.
A Quicker Option
If you and your spouse meet certain requirements—among them, being married for less than eight years, with no children or interests in real property, and have a combined total income of $60,000 per year or less—you may be able to file for what is called a joint simplified divorce. If you meet these qualifications and have no disagreements over the disposition of your property, you will likely qualify. A joint simplified divorce can be concluded in under a month, so if you otherwise qualify, it may be to your advantage to hammer out any lingering disagreements so you may proceed.
You Need Attorneys Who Care
Divorce is one of the most pivotal occurrences in most people’s lives, for better or worse. You need a legal professional on your side who knows how difficult it can be, and will help guide you through the process. The skilled Geneva divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates have years of experience that we will put to work for you. Contact us today to discuss your options.