Illinois Divorce Procedures

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A divorce can change your life to a great extent. Often many divorced individuals find it hard to cope up with the post-divorce life changes. Lucky are those who find new meaning to their existence and live happily. If you wish to choose the second option, which is bound to come with a successful divorce, you have to know all the essential information regarding the divorce laws of your state. Illinois in USA has its own divorce statute which defines all the divorce procedures. Illinois has a low divorce rate. The divorce rate, for both men and women aged 15 and above, is 8 per 1000. If you are fighting your case in any county in Illinois, you should gather vital information on the divorce process relevant in your case.

Initiating the Divorce Process

The divorce procedure begins when the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed. The divorcing partner who files the petition is known as the Plaintiff or Petitioner. The other divorcing partner is termed as the Defendant or Respondent. The Petition is a public record, usually 2 to 3 pages in length and has facts pertaining to the Petitioner, the Respondent and the child or children, if any. So the plaintiff has to include all the true information about himself/ herself, the other spouse and children, if any.

Illinois Divorce Procedure regarding Service

Once the Petition is filed in the court, the next step is that the Petition and Summons must be served to the Respondent. This service is done by private process servers or the Sheriff. In case, the Respondent has hired the services of an attorney, the private process servers or the Sheriff can contact the attorney and hand over the documents to the attorney.

Sometimes the private process servers contact the Respondents and plan to meet them at a private location so that they are not embarrassed. In case there is a background of domestic violence or substance abuse amongst the Petitioner and Respondent, then it is advisable that the services of law enforcement personnel ought to be taken to execute the service.

Illinois Divorce Procedure regarding Response

In Illinois, the Respondent is allocated 30 days from the date of service to file a written Response. Whenever the Respondent does not file a formal Response, the Petitioner reserves the right to request the court to continue the case with a default judgment. In such a scenario, the Petitioner furnishes evidence to the Judge that the Respondent had knowledge regarding the Petition, and has knowingly failed to file a Response. Further, the Judge grants the divorce and distributes the marital property equitably.

Whenever the Respondent files a Response, there can be a discussion between the lawyers whether there is any need for temporary support. During this discussion, the marital expenditure, maintenance, and child support while the divorce case is pending, are settled. While the divorce case is pending, if the divorcing partners are residing with each other and are handling finances as they did normally in their marital life, there is no requirement of temporary support.

However, if the divorcing partners are not staying together and/or are not sharing expenses, then temporary support can be finalized by the order of court, following a full hearing or by agreement of the counsel.


The divorce case is set for trial only when pretrial conference or negotiation fails. It must be noted that the trial calendar of any court is planned several months in advance. So, divorcing partners have to wait for approximately 5 to 6 months before they can get a trial date.

During this period, lawyers of the partners prepare the case. This preparation incorporates the following actions:

  • Preparation of exhibits
  • Review of the discovery developed by the spouse
  • Taking depositions
  • Review of the reports of experts
  • Interviews of potential witnesses
  • Entering stipulations with opposing counsel

Divorce Mediation

Many divorcing couples have to go through the process of divorce mediation. When the court concludes that there is a chance of reconciliation between the spouses, it may order a conciliation conference at the request of anyone of the spouses or on its own motion.

It is natural that people who are undergoing divorce cases might get distracted by their ego and take a decision in hurry that may prove critical for their future. It is imperative to act judiciously and rationally. Once you read all the Illinois divorce procedures, you get to know what proceedings are relevant in your case. A further discussion with an attorney will give you a fair idea as to how the process is actually going to be. So, get prepared to face the truth which may not appear acceptable, but may prove beneficial in the long run.

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