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How do I File for Divorce in Illinois?

Posted on October 25, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerThe first step toward getting divorced in Illinois is submitting a petition to the court in the county you live in. Filing this petition starts the divorce process. A petition for divorce is a document that tells the court you intend to legally divorce your spouse. Certain information must be included in this document, including both of your contact information. Your petition for divorce must also claim a legal ground for divorce. Grounds for divorce used to be things like infidelity, habitual intoxication, and extreme cruelty. Now, there is only one recognized ground for divorce - irreconcilable differences. After you file, formally serving your spouse with divorce papers is usually the next step. While you technically are not required to have an attorney, it is not a good idea to try to do this alone. Divorce can be a complicated legal process, and it is best to have a qualified Illinois divorce attorney representing your interests. 

What Does “Irreconcilable Differences” Mean?

Since you have to state that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences when you first file for divorce, it makes sense to want to understand what that means. In Illinois, the term means that disagreements between you and your spouse have caused the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. Fortunately, courts generally do not scrutinize this claim too closely. Especially if you and your spouse agree that you have irreconcilable differences, the court is likely to take your word for it. 

Serving Your Spouse

After you have filed your petition for divorce, you will need to have your spouse legally served. In some cases, you may be able to serve them yourself. In others, you may need to hire a third party to see to it that your spouse receives their divorce papers. If you genuinely do not know where your spouse can be found, there are alternative ways to serve them. 

The Next Steps

There is a lot of paperwork, and often a lot of waiting, involved in divorce. Your attorney should be the one tasked with ensuring that all the required forms have been filled out correctly and submitted on time. You may need to spend some time helping your attorney gather the necessary information and documents. 

You and your spouse will need to decide how to approach your divorce. You can try to settle your divorce out of court by using mediation or attorney-assisted negotiation. Your other option is to contest your divorce in court. It is important to discuss both options with your lawyer. 

Contact a Will County, IL, Divorce Attorney

Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. is a highly regarded law firm dedicated to the practice of family law. Our experienced Naperville, IL divorce lawyers will do all we can to make the divorce process as easy as possible for you while fighting for a fair result. Contact us at 630-355-7776 for a complimentary consultation. 

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