Does Where You File for Divorce Matter?
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, you probably realize that you will need to file your petition at the county courthouse. For many people, however, there are questions as to which county is appropriate. According to the law in Illinois, there are specific guidelines for choosing the right venue for your divorce, but you may have several options.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that the proceedings for a divorce in Illinois should be held “in the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides.” If you and your spouse both live in Kane County, then your divorce, barring unusual circumstances, should take place in the circuit court of Kane County. If you live in Kane County but your spouse has moved to DuPage County, your divorce could be handled by the court of either county. In any case, a county court judge may direct your process to any other county in the state as needed.
There may be situations in which you want your divorce to be handled in a county where neither you nor your spouse currently live. For example, you may have spent virtually your entire married life in Kane County, but following your separation, you both found small apartments in another county and quickly filed for divorce. You could argue that your divorce should be heard in Kane County. Similarly, if you and your spouse live in Kane County but both of you work and spend a significant portion of your time in Cook County, you could present a case that handling your divorce in Cook County would cause less hardship for you and your spouse.
If you wish to have your divorce heard in a non-residential county, you must file such a motion with your initial petition and summons. Your spouse must file any objection to such a motion with his or her response, and a hearing will be held to determine if a waiver regarding the state’s venue requirements is appropriate. If no objection is presented immediately, a future objection regarding venue will not be given consideration. Each county’s court has the same jurisdictional authority over a divorce in Illinois, meaning that you and your spouse cannot appeal the court’s decision on the basis of improper venue.
Preparing for Divorce?
When you are considering divorce, it is important to educate yourself on the regarding the laws and regulations in Illinois. An experienced Kane County divorce attorney can help you get the information you need to make informed decisions throughout the process. Contact The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today for a confidential consultation and get the assistance you need.