5 Typical Phases of Divorce Proceedings

Divorce proceedings in Illinois typically follow this pattern:

1. Petition Filed

One party to the marriage may begin the legal process for the dissolution of marriage by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petition and a Summons will be served upon the other spouse.

2. A Response is Filed

Once served with a summons, you have 30 days to file an appearance and written response. If you don’t, the court can hold you in default and grant your spouse relief without your participation in the proceedings.

3. Discovery

Discovery is the formal investigation the parties participate in to assist in disclosing all financial documentation relating to the parties’ assets and debts.  Determination must be made as to which assets and debts of the parties are marital property or non-marital property.

If either party is concerned about information being hidden from them or one party handled all the finances during a marriage, discovery is a tool to be used in gaining information about the parties’ financial picture.

4. Negotiations towards a Settlement

Once all information has been exchanged so both parties’ have a working knowledge of their financial picture, values have been obtained for various assets and debts, and property is identified as marital and/or non-marital, then the parties can begin the process of discussing and negotiating a final settlement.

Many cases involve child custody/visitation issues as well as financial assets and debts to work through during the negotiation process. Both of these areas can be very emotional for people and difficult to work through in a rational, sensible way.

5. Trial

If you and your spouse are unable to come to a mutually agreeable settlement, then the case may proceed to trial.  All the relevant facts and evidence are presented to the judge to assist the judge in reaching a result that is fair and equitable to both sides. 

We are experienced in handling all phases of a divorce proceeding.  If you are getting divorced, feel free to contact us at (847) 599-9101 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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