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Wheaton Attorney Explaining the Illinois Divorce Process

Understanding What Happens During a Divorce

West Chicago Divorce Process

The end of a marriage can be a traumatic time for everyone involved, and as divorcing spouses work to separate their lives, ongoing conflicts can complicate the process. During a divorce, you should make sure you understand each step of the process so you can meet your obligations and overcome any obstacles that may arise.

The Divorce Petition

Divorce proceedings begin when one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This spouse is known as the petitioner. Their petition will state any relevant facts about the spouses and their children, and it will include their requests for relief, which may include child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), and division of marital property.

Following the divorce filing, the other spouse will be served with the divorce petition. This spouse is known as the respondent. The respondent must file an appearance at the court where the divorce petition was filed within 30 days, and they must also file a response to the divorce petition, answering any allegations and including their own requests for relief. If the respondent fails to file an appearance and response within 30 days, the court may order a default judgment in favor of the petitioner and grant their requests for relief.

The Discovery Phase

The next step of the divorce process is discovery, during which the spouses will disclose their financial information to each other, including any income they make, assets they own, and debts they are responsible for. During discovery, each spouse's attorney may uncover financial information through methods such as depositions, subpoenas, or requests for documentation. Spouses must answer any of these requests completely and accurately.

Ongoing Status Calls

As the divorce process continues, the spouses and their attorneys will work to come to an agreement on all issues involved in the divorce, with the goal of reaching a settlement. During this time, they will regularly meet in court to provide the judge with status updates. At these status calls, either spouse can petition the court for temporary relief, asking the judge to decide on issues such as child support, allocation of parental responsibility, spousal support, or property division during the divorce proceedings. If any of these requests are granted, they will be included in a court order. Both spouses must abide by any court orders until the divorce has been finalized. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement during their negotiations, they may be ordered to attend mediation.

Pre-Trial Conference and Trial Hearing

If the spouses are unable to agree on any or all issues in their divorce, the case will proceed to trial. Prior to a trial, a pre-trial conference may be scheduled in which both parties' attorneys meet with the judge, present evidence, and describe what issues need to be resolved. The judge will indicate how he would likely rule should the case proceed to trial and make recommendations as to how the parties might settle the case. If the parties are still unable to reach an agreement following this conference, a hearing will be held, and the judge will make a final decision on any outstanding issues.

Settlement and Prove-Up

In most divorce cases, a trial is not necessary, and spouses are able to reach a settlement on the issues in their divorce. This settlement will include a document called a Marital Settlement Agreement, as well as a Parenting Plan if the spouses have any children.

Once spouses have agreed on a Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan, they will attend a prove-up hearing to finalize the divorce. During this hearing, the judge will confirm that both spouses agree to the settlement and understand the terms of their agreements. Following prove-up, the court will issue a final divorce decree.

Legal Assistance Throughout Divorce in DuPage County

At Anderson and Associates, P.C., our skilled divorce attorneys have over 30 years of experience assisting clients in every phase of the divorce process. We can help you understand your rights and responsibilities during each step of your divorce, and if necessary, we will aggressively represent you in court. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer at 630-653-9400 to schedule an initial consultation. We serve clients in Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville, Winfield, Glendale Heights, West Chicago and throughout DuPage County.

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