Before a married couple can legally be recognized as separate and independent from one another, they must file for a divorce. In the state of Illinois, divorce is a multi-step process, and one that takes time, and typically the help of an experienced divorce attorney. Consider these first five steps that you should take if you are ready to get divorced in Illinois:
- Live Separately
In the past, couples who wanted to seek a divorce on no-fault grounds had to live separately for a period of at least two years. While the law has since been amended and parties are not required to live separately for a period of two years, living separately prior to divorce might be a good idea, depending on your circumstances. Living separately gives you time to determine whether or not a divorce is truly what you want, and in the event that the divorce is dispute, a separation period of six-months is an indisputable display of irreconcilable differences, allowing for the divorce to proceed.
- Hire an Attorney
If you are positive that you want a divorce, have lived separately from your spouse, and have tried all means possible of saving your marriage, such as seeing a marriage therapist, it is time to hire an attorney to assist you in proceeding with your divorce. Find an attorney who is experienced in family law, has a history of success, and whom you like.
- File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
Your attorney can assist you in filing a petition for dissolution of marriage if you are ready to file for divorce. You will need to file this with the circuit clerk in the county in which you live. You will then need to serve your summons to your spouse, which informs them of your petition for divorce and tells them what actions they need to take next. As explained by the State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County, there are five options for serving your summons: voluntary acceptance, sheriff’s service, process server, service by publication, and service by special order of the court.
- Temporary Orders
Once your spouse responds to your petition for dissolution of marriage, your attorney–or the attorney of your spouse–can begin the process of pursuing any temporary orders that will go into effect before the divorce is finalized. For example, one party may request a temporary order for child custody, or temporary spousal support.
The next step in the divorce process is called the discovery process, which is where each party’s financial situation will be investigated in order to make final orders later on. This process may include requests for information (such as tax filing information or bank account information), depositions, and more. All information that is collected during discovery can be used to help the court make decisions about division of property and other important issues in divorce.
Contact Our Law Offices Today
Keep in mind that the above steps are only the first five steps of divorce; there are also negotiations, mediations, and the settlement vs. trial process, too. At the law offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., our experienced family law attorneys serving Naperville and surrounding areas can provide you with the representation you’re looking for. Contact us today for your free consultation to learn more.