Divorce is one of the most difficult decisions that people are sometimes forced to make. That’s why you need a divorce lawyer in case you intend to go down that road. Questions regarding custody of children, maintenance of normal lifestyle and division of matrimonial property are common for anyone who contemplates ending a marriage.
It can be very difficult to deal with the legal aspects concerning divorce on your own since they are usually complicated. That’s why you need to engage an exceptional divorce lawyer in Chicago. However, if the relationship between the two of you is still fairly good, getting divorced may take less time, may cost a few thousand dollars and may also be fairly straight-forward.
Grounds for Divorce
In Chicago, the terms divorce and dissolution of marriage are used interchangeably. In the greater Illinois area, dissolution of marriage can be broadly classified into two:
- Fault-based divorce
- No-fault-based divorce
Consider pursuing the first option if you do not wish to reveal the actual reasons for breaking up. You can simply state (without going into details) that the union has broken beyond retrieval, instead of blaming your partner or revealing details that can be very embarrassing.
To successfully pursue a no-fault-based divorce, one of you must have stayed in Chicago IL for not less than 3 months. Additionally, the two of you must live separately for a specified period of time.
If the two of you agree to pursue the second option (no-fault based marriage dissolution), the separation period should be at least 180 days. If it’s only one of you who wishes to pursue the second option, the separation period is 24 months or more.
Clearly, the legal aspects concerning the dissolution of marriage are complex, especially to people who have little or no legal background. It’s therefore important to hire one of the accomplished divorce attorneys in Chicago before going down that road.
The following are grounds on which a disgruntled spouse can use to file for marriage dissolution:
- Passing on a Sexually Transmitted Disease to the spouse (either knowingly or unknowingly)
- Discovery that a partner is also married to someone else
- When a partner gets convicted after committing a felony
- Extreme physical or psychological cruelty
- Abandonment for a period of 12 months or more
- Attempting to kill husband/ wife
- When a partner gets addicted to alcohol or other drugs for not less than 24 months
- Irreconcilable differences
Given that courts in Cook County rarely take into account either partner’s fault as grounds for dividing property, very few disgruntled spouses provide a list of faults allegedly committed by their partners.
Preparation of Forms
You must look for the appropriate forms once the decision concerning type f marriage dissolution has been made. Illinois State has no uniform set of forms since each county has its own prescribed forms. However, any person who lives in Chicago or the larger Illinois State and wishes to file for divorce must file a proper Dissolution of Marriage / Divorce Petition.
Petitioner/ plaintiff is the legal term given to a disgruntled spouse who files the petition, while the other party is referred to as a respondent/ defendant.
For a divorce petition to be successful, you must submit the forms listed below:
- Domestic-Relations Cover-Sheet
- Dissolution Certificate
- Marriage Dissolution petition (multiple copies)
- Affidavit of Service
- Summons (multiple copies)
The following forms must also be submitted by disgruntled petitioners who have children:
- Agreement for Joint Parenting
- Uniform Order-of-Support
- Visitation Form
In the event that divorce gets settled before reaching the trial stage, a petitioner is legally required to present the agreement and other relevant documents at the prove-up hearing. Both parties in the divorce case (petitioner and respondent) must be adequately prepared to answer questions regarding the division of matrimonial property and custody of children, among other important questions. Contact our Chicago family law firm to discuss your options of what your case may involve.
The petitioner and respondent must submit financial disclosure statements to the court. These documents help to streamline the important process of splitting up marital property since both parties provide a list of all assets and liabilities.
How Does the Divorce Process Start?
A divorce process starts when the petitioner files a petition in court. Essentially, a petition refers to legal paperwork that requests the dissolution of the marriage between a petitioner and respondent.
In order to bring the respondent/ defendant within the court’s jurisdiction, it’s mandatory for him or her to be personally served. This means the above-mentioned party must personally receive the summons and petition that seeks to dissolve their marriage. The service of process can be done through a process server specially appointed by the honorable court or the local sheriff.
The defendant has a legal obligation to file a court appearance either through a lawyer or prose (if he/she is unwilling or unable to hire a lawyer).
Additionally, the respondent is legally required to file a response that seeks to either deny or admit allegations made by the petitioner. Our Chicago divorce attorneys will help you get the process started and we will guide you step by step until we get the results you expect.
What if the defendant spouse attempts to evade the service of process? What happens if he or she cannot be found?
If the court-appointed process server or sheriff fails to serve the respondent with the court summons and petition because of the afore-mentioned reason(s), the court has authority to terminate the marriage, issue orders regarding custody of children and pronounce other judgments related to the case as well.
On the other hand, the defendant spouse’s rights to property cannot be legally adjudicated, and the judge cannot issue orders regarding maintenance or child support, unless he or she has filed an appearance without any coercion, or if he or she has personally received the court petition and summon.
It’s important to note that many estranged spouses deliberately attempt to evade being served with divorce petitions. For this reason, you should find out who the best family law attorneys in Chicago are, and proceed to hire one of the law firms.
What if the defendant deliberately fails to file an appropriate answer or appearance, even after getting served?
In case the scenario described above happens, the defendant would be in default. As a result, the court may grant the plaintiff’s wishes by dissolving the marriage and providing remedies such as maintenance, a division of marital property, child custody, visitation rights, issuance of restraint orders and child support, among other legal remedies.
What actions can estranged spouses take before delivery of final judgment?
There are several actions that partners can take before the whole process comes to an end. Either spouse has the liberty of filing a motion or court petition seeking temporary relief. This may be in the form of temporary custody of child/ children, maintenance, visitation rights or child support.
The court may issue temporary orders after a successful hearing, and the orders usually remain in effect unless or until a judge changes or modifies them.
The orders also remain effective until the court issues a final judgment for divorce.
The whole process is, without doubt, complicated, time-consuming and costly. It’s therefore important for spouses who wish to dissolve their marriages to seek help from successful divorce lawyers in Chicago.
How does the judge set apart wrong from right?
Both parties in a marriage dissolution case (petitioner and defendant) are required to submit all documents relevant to the divorce case. Additionally, they are expected to provide the requisite information in entirety. All these are done under oath.
In the event that a dispute regarding visitation rights, custody of children or other important aspects arises, the court may ask feuding parties to resolve the conflict through mediation.
Alternatively, the court may ask experts to help with the evaluation process. An independent expert can be appointed by the court of law to carry out investigations and then give recommendations, given that it has the statutory authority.
In some cases, parents can have their children evaluated by experts hired by them. A judge can use his or her discretion to conduct interviews with the children in chambers.
Thereafter, the judge proceeds to hold hearings during which both the plaintiff and respondent present testimonies and other facts related to the case.
All judges are required by law to make sober decisions and judgments based on the evidence presented before them and the law as well.
What are the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement in case your marriage dissolves?
The term prenuptial agreement essentially refers to a special arrangement that two prospective spouses made before the commencement of the marriage. It explains how the man and woman will handle important issues such as assets, liabilities, investments, and custody of children in the course of the marriage and in the unfortunate event that divorce occurs.
There are many benefits of having a prenuptial agreement with your potential husband or wife. This is because your prospective spouse may want to get married so as to get a share of the immense wealth that you have painstakingly acquired. The love you have may die a few years after getting married. Irreconcilable differences may force you to seek a divorce.
Every week, thousands of people across the world get divorced for a wide range of reasons, and there’s no guarantee that your marriage will last forever. There are so many other issues that can come up in your marriage that may force you to separate. Having a prenuptial agreement is, therefore, a good idea.
Do trials occur in all divorce cases?
Most cases regarding divorce and other aspects of family law get settled without necessarily proceeding to trial. This usually happens after couples spend lots of time, money and other resources wrangling in court. A small fraction of these cases proceed to trial, and judges usually take cognizance of the applicable law when conducting the trials.
- Getting started guide for divorce (PDF)
- How to get divorce if you have children (PDF)
- Illinois Courts Forms
Contact Our Chicago Divorce Attorneys Today!
Has your spouse infected you with an STD? Has your partner become cruel, a drug addict or serial philanderer? Has your partner become impotent, and you really need to enjoy conjugal rights? Are there irreconcilable differences between the two of you?
You don’t have to live with that man or woman forever. Stop risking your health and life. A divorce is a good option. However, you shouldn’t try to go down that rough road without legal representation.
Contact our divorce and family law attorneys at Ktenas Law to help you go through this difficult time. We have law offices in downtown Chicago and Chicagoland area for your convenience. Call us today! we’re available 24/7.