How to File for Divorce

Divorce, Family Law, Mark Schondorf

Deciding to file for divorce is not an easy feat, and while it may seem overwhelming at first, it does not have to be. With adequate resources and support, your divorce process will progress as you need it to.

If you need a pointer to the divorce filing process, this blog post is for you. Read on to learn the necessary actions to kickstart the process and what to expect.

Determine if you meet the requirements for getting divorced in your state.

Each state has its own requirements for getting divorced. In Illinois, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. Divorce is also only granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Consider the waiting period

Illinois has a waiting period of at least six months before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period can be waived in certain circumstances, such as if the couple has a written agreement on all issues related to the divorce or if one spouse has committed physical or mental cruelty.

Get an attorney or file pro se

You can choose whether to file for divorce on your own or with the help of a divorce attorney. You can file for divorce on your own, also known as pro se, or hire an attorney to represent you. While you can do this on your own, a divorce can have long-term financial and legal consequences, and it is crucial to ensure your rights are protected. This is why it’s generally recommended to consult with a lawyer before the divorce process, especially if you have significant assets or debts, children, or complex financial or legal issues. If you decide to file for divorce without a lawyer, you will be responsible for completing and filing all necessary legal documents and representing yourself in court. This can be complex and time-consuming, and it is essential to follow all relevant laws and procedures carefully. If you do not feel comfortable representing yourself or if you are unsure about the legal process, it is generally a good idea to hire a lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and provide valuable legal guidance throughout the divorce process.

Put together all vital documents

You will need to gather all relevant documents for your marriage to facilitate your divorce. This will include all financial records and relevant agreements for asset holdings. If you are filing for divorce yourself, you will need to prepare a variety of documents asides from this.

Filing the divorce petition

You will need to file a petition or complaint for divorce in the appropriate court. The petition will outline your grounds for divorce and request that the court grants the divorce.

Serving the divorce papers

After filing a petition, the next step is to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. You will need to serve your spouse with the divorce papers formally. This can be done by delivering the documents in person or by mail. Your spouse will have a certain amount of time to respond to the divorce petition. After this, the court proceedings begin. Depending on your case, you may be required to attend court hearings.

Before the divorce is finalized, your court hearings or preliminary marriage arrangements will determine core issues like property division and child support.

In Illinois, courts operate on an equitable distribution basis, meaning the state will divide properties fairly. It will be equitable but probably not equal. Sole and joint custody will be awarded during this phase.

If you want an experienced divorce attorney who can represent and guarantee your interests, contact the attorneys at Hecht Schondorf. We can discuss the specifics of your case and chart a plan that protects you, your children, and your assets. Get in touch here today.