The emotional strain of a divorce can be even more painful when you’re unsure how to go about getting one. You may be asking yourself, “Should I get a divorce,” or “Where do I start?”
Conniff Law Offices is a reliable source for information on divorce in Illinois, as we’ve helped numerous clients navigate divorce proceedings and the emotional and difficult decisions involved. To shed light on this subject, we’ve put together the divorce FAQ below. Read on for more information on how to get a divorce and what it entails.
Divorce in Illinois
Divorce in Illinois is referred to as “dissolution of marriage.” To file a dissolution of marriage, you and your spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days.
In 2016, revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) made Illinois a no-fault state, meaning the courts don’t require or recognize a reason for separation in dissolution of marriage or civil union cases. The only cause recognized by the IMDMA is irreconcilable differences, which means that despite attempting to move past their issues, the couple can’t come to a resolution and divorce is best for them and their family.
How to File for Divorce
You can gather the appropriate forms from the Cook County Circuit Court website. At a minimum, you will need a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If you live in the greater Chicago area, you must file:
- Domestic Relations Cover Sheet
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
- Affidavit of Service
- Certificate of Dissolution
If you have minors, you must also file:
- Joint Parenting Agreement
- Visitation Form
- Uniform Order of Support (in child support cases).
Once the paperwork has been gathered and filled out, you must file the documents with the clerk of court. You may also serve your spouse with forms via a private process server, sheriff’s service, or publication. Some counties require both sides to file a Financial Disclosure Statement with the court.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
The current filing fee in Cook County is $368, but each divorce is unique and other costs can increase the cost of a divorce significantly. When child custody, child support, alimony or spousal maintenance, and property division are included, the cost of divorce can climb into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars — couples with higher incomes and more assets will often have much higher costs for their divorce.
The excessive cost that come with a litigated divorce is one of the many reasons Conniff Law Offices is staffed with experts in collaborative law — collaborative divorces work to avoid litigation and minimize costs.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
Once the county court receives the petition for dissolution of marriage, you’ll receive a case number, a presiding judge, and a summons. Your spouse will also need the summons, which, as stated above, can be served in a few ways. It can take up to three weeks for your spouse to receive the summons from the sheriff’s office or by special process server, and your spouse can take up to 30 days to respond. After a response is received, a court appearance before the judge can be scheduled to dissolve the marriage.
If you and your spouse need to make decisions about child support, child custody, property division, and more, those court appearances will be scheduled for a later date. How long they take depends on you and your spouse and whether or not you’re able to reach agreements on each aspect of the divorce. It’s worth noting that, in Illinois, custody cases must be resolved within 18 months of the date on which they were filed.
Once you and your spouse have reached decisions, a prove-up hearing will be scheduled by the judge to finalize the agreements.
What Percentage of Marriages End in Divorce?
If you’re in the process of a divorce or are considering one, you are not alone. It is estimated that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. These divorce rates also tend to increase for people who have already been married.
Turn to Conniff Law Offices for Expert Representation
At Conniff Law Offices, our values dictate how we handle every case — that is, with compassion, discretion, and expertise. Our experienced team of family law attorneys can help you through divorce proceedings, including pain points like child custody and spousal support. For further advice or assistance, including questions you may have about taxes after divorce, don’t hesitate to contact us today.