Divorce in Illinois can be a straightforward event so long as the parties mutually agree on everything from child custody, support, and asset distribution, among other things as relevant to each unique case. When divorce is contested, the process can be a long and painful one. Having an experienced divorce attorney helps make the process smoother, helps keep your mind clear, and helps you make informed decisions that could impact you and your family for the rest of your lives.
At Dolci & Weiland, we represent our clients' interests with compassion and thoughtfulness. Our experience grants us insight that can help make sure we approach your divorce comprehensively and competently while minimizing upsets and unnecessary hassles. Below is a brief overview of what a divorce could entail. But remember: each case is unique, especially in divorce cases, and as such, each will follow its own path. The difference is making sure you have a resourceful divorce attorney to lead you down the right path.
When Divorce is Uncontested: the Process in Illinois
Illinois is a no-fault state. This means a spouse only needs to claim irreconcilable differences for grounds for divorce. Irreconcilable differences simply refer to the inability to get along anymore for whatever reason.
If you and your spouse come to the mutual conclusion that the marriage is no longer working and if you are able -- together -- come to an agreement to the terms and conditions of the divorce, including anything to do with children or assets or alimony, then you may be able to file the divorce without much hassle and have a judgment of dissolution issued within 2 - 4 weeks.
Here are the basic steps for an uncontested divorce in Illinois:
- Complete the required forms, which include:
- Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage form
- Property Settlement Agreement form
- Affidavit in Support of Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
- Judgment of Dissolution form.
- Have an experienced review the forms to make sure everyone's rights and interests are upheld.
- Make two copies of the petition and all the attachments.
- File the original and both copies and a filing fee with the Clerk at the Circuit Court of DuPage County.
- Attend a court hearing on the divorce, the end of which the judge will sign the Judgment of Dissolution (unless an unexpected issue arises).
When Divorce is Contested: the Process in Illinois
When married persons contest any aspect of the divorce, the process to obtain the Judgment of Dissolution can vary between 6 and 18 months. During this time, the following may or may not occur.
- Either you or your spouse files the petition for dissolution of Marriage and the summons for the parties to appear and answer in court.
- Either you or your spouse -- whoever filed the papers -- must have the other spouse served with a copy of the same. The court will not move ahead with a hearing until the spouse has been properly served.
- The spouse served the petition and summons will respond by filing his or her own appearance and answer to the petition for dissolution.
- You and your spouse's attorneys will share information and documentation on things like finances, witness testimony, and anything else that is relevant to the divorce. A spouse may have been charged with domestic violence. A spouse may have a hidden financial account. A spouse may have mental health concerns. The sharing of information is done during the discovery phase of the divorce process.
- When appropriate, attorneys on either side will file pleadings, and sometimes based on those pleadings, pretrial hearings will be held. You will attend those hearings.
- When appropriate, a judge may order you and your spouse to attend mediation at any point of the litigation process.
- If towards the end of the process, agreement on dissolution has not yet been reached, trial will begin. You and your spouse will present evidence on the contested issues of the divorce. Evidence is dependent on the nature of the contested matter.
Divorce Services in Chicago or DuPage County
If you are seeking a divorce, you may wish to retain a lawyer for the entire duration of your divorce or you may only require certain services. At Dolci & Weiland, we offer a number of services so that we can comprehensively and fully represent you, your interests, and your rights during the divorce process.
Divorce services and/or issues we offer or address include but are not limited to:
- Contested divorce -- You may dispute certain or all aspects of the divorce and will require litigation.
- Uncontested divorce -- You may need help completing the forms and filing them properly.
- Division of assets and property -- You may have assets, like property, financial accounts, 401ks, pensions, etc., that will need to be divided in accordance with Illinois law.
- Maintenance-- One spouse may want or need spousal support after (or during) the divorce.
- Child Custody -- If you have children, who stays where and when must be determined.
- Child Support -- If you have children, depending on each spouse's capabilities and child custody determinations, child support may be necessary.
- Parenting plans -- If you have children, it is good to have a plan in place regarding how they are raised and their future.
- Estate planning -- You may need to modify wills or revocable trusts or other documents.
- Custody of pets -- Pets are family, and likewise, custody of pets can become a contentious aspect of a divorce.
- Modifications or post decrees -- After a divorce, you may need to modify child support, child custody, or spousal support due to changed circumstances.
- Domestic violence, violent crimes, or drugs -- You or your spouse may have been accused or convicted of a violent- or drug-related crime and need the matter addressed appropriately and promptly.
- Appeals -- The judgment of dissolution may not have been in your favor and you want to appeal it.
The benefit of working with our office is the comprehensive approach we take to your divorce. In addition to what you may expect from a divorce attorney (and as you can see in the above bulleted list), we also offer services that complement and address issues that are secondary to the divorce but have a direct impact on it or because of it, like estate planning and criminal activity.
Contact a Reputable, Client-Focused Divorce Law Firm in Illinois Today
Dolci & Weiland provides family law and divorce services to clients in Chicago and throughout DuPage County. Whether you are the one who wants to file for divorce or the one to respond to divorce papers, we are here to listen to you and to help you through the entire process. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.