Divorce FAQ

Deciding to file divorce is one of the toughest decisions for a person to make. If you’re contemplating a divorce, it’s prudent to ascertain your rights and responsibilities under Illinois law before filing papers that could lead to a long and drawn-out battle. With the help of an experienced Chicago divorce attorney, many couples are able to agree to terms without the expense and stress of a contested proceeding. The more issues you’re able to resolve with your spouse prior to filing, the easier negotiations will be once the paperwork is filed with the court. Less contested issues lead to a much quicker and less expensive divorce.

How do I file for divorce?

Once you’ve decided to move forward with your divorce, the divorce attorney will prepare a petition for dissolution of marriage or civil union along with other required documents. You’ll review the petition very carefully, and if there are no necessary or proposed changes, you’ll sign and have the petition notarized. Your divorce attorney will then e-file the petition for dissolution of marriage or civil union and required documents in the county that has proper jurisdiction. At this point, the court process gets going.

What happens once it’s filed?

Your divorce attorney will receive the documents back from the county your case was filed in and send the documents to a process server. The process server will attempt to serve your spouse with the filed documents to obtain required service to move a case forward. If the process server is unable to serve your spouse after multiple attempts, your divorce attorney will file a motion with the court for approval of alternative service such as publication. Whichever way service is obtained, your spouse has thirty (30) days to file an appearance and response to the petition for dissolution of marriage or civil union that was filed with the court. If they do not, you will be able to proceed to a default judgment to potentially finalize your divorce.

Does my spouse have to be served with documents?

Not necessarily. Often times an attorney is retained by the spouse prior to, or shortly after, the divorce is filed. The attorney will generally accept service of the documents on the spouse’s behalf. Alternatively, your spouse can voluntarily file a pro se appearance (self-represented) with the court in lieu of service of the documents. In the latter situation, however, your spouse would have to file the appearance with the court because proper service of process has not been completed. Our firm will generally give the spouse a bit of time and if he or she does not file an appearance, we send our process server out to complete service. If an attorney accepts service of the documents or your spouse voluntarily files an appearance, it eliminates the service costs and gets the process going quicker. The bottom line is that the case cannot move forward without service being obtained one way or another.

Do Illinois divorce laws differ for LGBTQ+ couples?

If you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, you’re entitled to the same protections under the law as others seeking a dissolution. That said, you may be more comfortable working with experienced LGBTQ+ divorce attorneys that are sensitive to the issues that impact our community. JRQ & Associates is a fully LGBTQ+ owned and operated law firm that’s committed to providing excellent service to people from all walks of life regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or any other distinguishing characteristic or trait.

It’s important to hire an experienced divorce attorney

Whether it’s a civil union or marriage, it’s important to hire an experienced divorce attorney to make sure your case is handled properly. Our firm always offers a free divorce consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys to go over the particulars of your case and advise you of all of your options. We are also very candid about the potential pitfalls that may occur depending on the specifics involved with your marriage or civil union.

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