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Orland Park Attorney Explains the Illinois Divorce Process

Palos Heights divorce property division attorney

Understanding the Legal Procedures Followed During Divorce

When a couple decides to end their marriage through divorce, they are likely ready to leave a difficult relationship and move on with their lives. However, before they can do so, they must complete the legal process of dissolving their marriage. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we can help you understand the steps you need to take and the requirements you must meet to complete your divorce.

Petitioning for Divorce

A spouse begins the divorce process by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This spouse (the petitioner) will state in their petition that the marriage has broken down and that attempts to reconcile would not be in the family's best interests (this is known as "irreconcilable differences," which is the only grounds for divorce recognized in Illinois). Their petition will also request "relief" from the court regarding issues such as the division of marital property, the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance (alimony).

After the divorce petition has been filed, it must be served to the other spouse (the respondent). Within 30 days after being served, the respondent must file a court appearance, as well as a response to the petition. Failing to file these documents may result in the divorce court judge making a default judgment in favor of the petitioner.

Exchanging Information During Discovery

After the divorce has been initiated, the spouses are required to exchange financial information with each other, fully disclosing their sources of income, the property and assets they own, and their debts and liabilities. If necessary, either party's attorney can make requests for information to the other party, or they may use methods such as depositions or subpoenas to discover any assets or relevant financial information. The parties are required to provide complete and truthful answers to any informational requests, and failure to do so may result in unfavorable decisions by the judge.

Asking for Temporary Relief

As the spouses work to reach an agreement on the issues that must be settled through negotiation or mediation, they will periodically appear in court to provide status updates. During these appearances, they may petition the court for temporary relief, asking to decide how certain issues (such as parenting time schedules, child support, or spousal support) will be handled while the divorce is pending. Decisions made by the judge regarding temporary relief will be issued in a court order that the spouses will be obligated to follow until the divorce is finalized.

Completing Divorce Through Settlement or Trial

The agreements made between the spouses during divorce will be compiled into a Marital Settlement Agreement, as well as a Parenting Plan for spouses who have children. If the spouses are able to come to an agreement on all outstanding issues, they will schedule a prove-up hearing, during which these documents will be entered as their final divorce decree. At the conclusion of this hearing, their divorce will be finalized.

If there are any outstanding issues that the spouses are unable to agree on, a trial will be held to decide these issues. Each spouse may present evidence and call witnesses, and the judge will make a decision which will be entered into court records as the final divorce judgment.

Contact a Cook County Divorce Attorney

During the divorce process, it is essential to work with an attorney who can help you understand your rights and requirements and work with you to resolve outstanding issues. Contact the Tinley Park divorce lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C. by calling 708-226-9904 to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Orland Park, Oak Forest, Homer Glen, and Palos Heights.

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