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How the divorce process works

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Divorce |

Illinois residents don’t go into their marriages planning on getting a divorce. Unfortunately, approximately 36% of marriages end in divorce according to a study published in 2019. With that in mind, the divorce process involves multiple steps and often takes a significant amount of time.

Divorce petition

The partner who files for divorce, referred to as the “petitioner,” writes the petition. This petition includes the name of both parties, their children, the reason for their filing and more.

Formally notifying the other spouse

Once the divorce petition gets filed, the other spouse must receive formal notification. In most divorces, this involves having a process server deliver a copy of the divorce petition to the other spouse.

A chance to respond

When the partner who didn’t file the divorce receives the petition, he or she has a chance to respond. This response may include disagreements with the information in the petition. The partner who filed receives a copy of this response.

What is a default decision?

If the partner who didn’t file for the divorce doesn’t respond, the court may issue a default decision. Each state has its own allowable time for the non-filing spouse to respond. In Illinois, the non-filing spouse has 30 days to respond.

Temporary hearing

If the non-filing spouse responds, the court will schedule a temporary hearing. During this hearing, the judge will make temporary custody arrangements, set financial obligations and more.

What next?

Couples going through a divorce have options after the temporary hearing. If things between the parties remain cordial, they may opt for mediation. If not, a divorce trial takes place, and this involves the judge determining everything for the former couple.
This final judgment includes child custody, child support and more. Most experts agree that mediation is the ideal option, but it’s simply not always possible.

Finalizing a divorce in Illinois can take anywhere from two months to several years, depending on how each party wants to handle the process. Knowing how the process works allows you to plan for what’s ahead.