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Frequently Asked Divorce Questions in Illinois

Top 8 Divorce Questions

Going through a divorce can be mentally exhausting, and fully grasping all the information your family lawyer gives you can be overwhelming. Undergoing an unfamiliar process may raise many questions before, during, and after your divorce process, and we are here to help you navigate every step of the way. We understand the roller coaster of emotions that comes with divorce, so we laid out our top ten frequently asked divorce questions in Illinois.

1. How Does Divorce Work?

If you’re considering filing for divorce, it’s important to take the decision seriously. Once you’ve made the decision to proceed with the divorce process, we recommend reaching out to a family law attorney who can assist in reviewing your options for a divorce. In order to obtain a divorce in Illinois, a judge must find that there are irreconcilable differences that have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. With newly amended statutes, irreconcilable differences are presumed where the parties have been separated for six months prior to the date of judgment. This does not mean you must be separated for six months before filing, but rather before final judgment. Additionally, the parties can waive this 6-month requirement.

2. How Do You Know When to Get a Divorce?

One of the most common divorce questions is when the right time is to get a divorce. All relationships have ups and downs, but divorce may become the best option when your marriage is no longer serving the needs you find to be essential in a happy relationship. Everyone’s situation is different, and each marriage has its reasons, but some common indications it may be time to file are signs of abuse or infidelity, substance abuse, financial irresponsibility, and lack of trust, communication, or intimacy.

3. How to File a Divorce in Illinois

Filing for divorce has a lot of moving parts, and without an experienced attorney filing your documentation, it can be stressful and overwhelming. To file a divorce in Illinois, you must first obtain the proper divorce forms, including, but not limited to:

  • The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Proof of Service/Delivery
  • Response to Petition
  • Summons
  • Certification Agreement
  • Judgment For Dissolution
  • Parenting Plan
  • Uniform Order of Support

Once you have the documents, the property division stage begins. During this time, your attorney will gather any necessary information to catalog the value of all your assets and debts. If you and your spouse have a child, you must also complete a parenting plan and decide on child custody and visitation, preferably within the first 120 days of filing a case. We always recommend meeting with a family lawyer before filing your forms because if any of the information is incorrect, the court will refuse your case.

4. Can You File for Divorce in Another State?

Requirements vary by state and county, but in Illinois, you must file for divorce in either the county you or your spouse lives in. If you have children, the case must be filed in the county in which the children primarily reside. If you do not have children, the address of the petitioner (the spouse to first file for divorce) determines the proper county of filing. If your spouse lives out of state, the process may be a little more complicated, so it would be important to speak to an attorney to ensure you can file in Illinois.

5. Illinois Divorce Process

The divorce process in Illinois requires much more than filing documents and showing up in court. An experienced lawyer can answer any of your divorce questions and talk you through the steps for a divorce, including:

  1. Filing: File the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and serve your partner.
  2. Discovery: Gather information such as financial documents or evidence.
  3. Negotiation: Discuss how all marital assets and debts will be split.
  4. Settlement or Agreement: If you cannot agree alone, a mediator, or both a mediator and lawyer, can help you come to an agreement.
  5. Parenting Class: Every parent going through a divorce in Illinois must also attend and complete co-parenting classes.

The length of each case varies on the situation, but an uncontested divorce can take weeks or months, but on average, a more complicated contested divorce can take up to a few years to resolve fully.

6. What Questions Can a Judge Ask During a Divorce?

During a divorce, judges will ask various fundamental questions about relationships, finances, parenting issues, and support. Each spouse will be able to answer the judges’ questions and present their side of the case. Examples of questions a judge may ask during a divorce:

Basic divorce questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What is your address?
  • What are your child’s names and birth dates?
  • What was the date and location of your marriage?
  • How many years were you married?
  • What efforts have you made to resolve the issue before coming to court?

Financial divorce questions:

  • How would you like to divide marital assets and debts?
  • Is spousal support needed?
  • Are all your financial documents accurate and up to date?

Custody divorce questions:

  • How will you share decision-making for your child’s health, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular involvement?
  • What parenting time schedule will you follow for normal day-to-day and holidays?
  • Is there an agreement on the terms for child support and the sharing of expenses?

7. Is Illinois a No-Fault State?

After the implementation of Public Act 99-90, Illinois became a no-fault state. This Act eliminated all fault-based grounds for divorce, including infidelity, mental or physical abuse, abandonment, habitual drinking, and substance abuse. Before the Act was implemented, spouses needed to prove the other was at fault to be granted a divorce, or they had to show a 2-year separation in order to divorce under irreconcilable differences.

8. How to Choose a Divorce Attorney

Sometimes, the most challenging part of your divorce process is selecting the right divorce attorney. It’s crucial to do research on your potential attorneys before going in for an initial consultation. Factors to consider when choosing your attorney include past successes and testimonials, affordability and transparency, relevant experience, and good communication. At Strieker Law, we care about the success of our clients and dedicate time to covering every part of the divorce process with them. As an Illinois-based family law attorney, we want you to feel confident from the first to the last step you take in the courtroom. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your family law divorce questions and to speak to one of our attorneys about your case.

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