What You Need to File for Divorce in Illinois
For better or worse, divorce is an event and concept that is firmly rooted in modern life. Yet while divorce is not a recent invention, divorce does not hold the stigma of previous generations.
A recent article looked at the history of divorce in America and noted that Americans have looked to this legal remedy to end untenable marriages as early as the American Revolution. In fact, Americans connected the right to dissolve union with England with the analogous right to end unions as couples. However, divorce is never an easy decision, now or 200 years ago.
Struggling couples may spend tremendous amounts of time and effort trying to save their relationships, but sometimes remaining together is not a viable option. Once the decision to divorce is made, the practical consequences of untangling two lives come into focus. Who will keep the family car? Should the house be sold? Where will everyone live? These are all questions that must be answered in a relatively short period of time, perhaps even before filing for divorce. At some point, though, addressing the mechanics of asking a Court to end a marriage is necessary, and consequently, understanding what the law requires from a party seeking a divorce is important to the process.
Residency and Filing
Both parties may file the divorce petition, and Illinois law requires at least one party be an Illinois resident for a minimum of 90 days. Residency is established when a person moves into Illinois with the intent to remain, and takes actions to establish him/herself in the community, such moving into a home, registering for utilities or obtaining a driver's license. This means that parties who married in another state are eligible to file for divorce in Illinois as long as one party is a current resident.
Grounds for Divorce
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means the party filing for divorce must claim irreconcilable differences as the reason for the end of the marriage. Further, the petition must assert that reconciliation was attempted and failed, and further attempts at reconciliation would be equally unfruitful and damaging to the family. While Courts have discretion when analyzing this element, Judges look for behaviors that indicate the parties no longer act as spouses, such as a lack in communication or marital relations.
Issues Included in the Petition
In addition to asking for a divorce, divorce petitions must include statements on what the party wants in relation to property division, child support, spousal support and parenting responsibilities. Many times, these issues are negotiated and decided before the petition is submitted. However, this is not required, and may not be possible if the parties cannot agree.
Responses and Default Judgments
Once a petition is filed, the other spouse must receive notice about the divorce and a copy of the divorce petition. Typically, responding parties have 30 days to file an answer to the claims of the other party. If a spouse fails to file an answer or otherwise reply to a divorce petition, a default judgment will be entered and the demands of the spouse asking for divorce will be granted without input from the other party.
Hire an Illinois Divorce Attorney
Getting divorced radically changes a person's life and brings many permanent and long lasting legal consequences. If you want to take this decisive step, work with a passionate Palatine divorce attorney to ensure you understand how the law applies to your situation. You will need this information to decide what is best for your family. If you live in the Northwestern Chicagoland area, the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. can handle all aspects of your divorce so you can focus on moving forward with your life. Contact the office for a free consultation.