Are you considering a divorce in Illinois? If so, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the process before beginning the legal proceedings.
Below, we outline how a typical divorce in Schaumburg occurs and break down the basic steps into chronological order:
Step 1: Filing a Petition
A divorce legally begins when one party files a form called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” with the court. Either spouse can file the petition, and the court will not give any preferential treatment to the filing party.
A petition for dissolution of marriage will outline straightforward facts about the marriage, including the reasons, or “grounds,” the filing party has for wanting to divorce their spouse.
Step 2: Service of Process
After the petition gets filed, the filing party is responsible for formally “serving” it on the other spouse. This presentation and hand-delivery is proof for the court that both parties are aware of the case and were notified with sufficient time to prepare.
Often, a full-time process server or a sheriff will be the one completing the service of process rather than the filing spouse.
Step 3: Filing a Response
Once the spouse who received the petition is formally served with a copy, they have the opportunity and responsibility to file a legal document known as a “Response” with the court. This filing triggers the case to proceed.
Step 4: Ordering Temporary Support
Divorces often result in one party being expected to make “support” payments to their spouse, children, or both to help all family members maintain the lifestyles they were accustomed to before the divorce.
In some situations when spouses are not living together after filing for divorce, their judge can order temporary support payments that the supporting party must pay at least until the divorce is finalized, and the parties can agree upon more permanent payment terms.
Step 5: Financial Investigation and Negotiation
This step, commonly known as “discovery” in the legal field, is typically where the parties spend most of their time during their divorce proceeding. During discovery, each party must review financial disclosures, estimate asset values, and negotiate settlement amounts.
Discovery is also the phase where parties may request depositions and issue subpoenas.
Step 6: Determining Child Support, Custody, and Visitation Rights
As is the case with any temporary support orders and payments, many divorce cases also involve temporary orders regarding child custody, support, and visitation rights.
If the parties have children, the judge may issue a temporary order outlining how each parent is to financially and emotionally support these children during the pendency of the trial.
Step 7: Pre-Trial and Trial Matters
If they cannot settle their differences outside of the courtroom, both spouses will participate in an official trial to determine “hot issues” such as parenting time, support payments, and equitable distribution of their assets.
If the case proceeds to trial, attorneys will often represent and guide the parties through the pre-trial conference, the trial, and the post-trial motions. Because divorce trials can be expensive and emotionally draining, many couples prefer to settle their cases and compromise on the issues most important to them to avoid more formal court appearances.
Get Legal Help for Your Divorce
When you need a trusted Schaumburg divorce lawyer on your side, Mr. Robert M. Kaplan can help. Our law office will represent you throughout your divorce to help ensure you're getting a fair and equitable result that's in the best interest of your family. To schedule a free consultation with us, please call (847) 845-9477 today!