What is divorce?

A divorce is a decree from the Court that legally ends a marriage. In Illinois, the way you obtain a divorce decree is by filing (or responding to) a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Divorce, child custody, and marital property division in Illinois are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

What types of divorce are there?

A divorce falls into one of three categories in Illinois: contested, uncontested, or default. An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties are in agreement about how to divide the marital estate and allocate parenting time (if applicable). In a contested divorce there is obvious disagreement about how to divide the marital estate and share parenting duties; a contested divorce may possibly be settled through mediation, or it may require going to court and engaging in litigation. A default divorce occurs when one party is entirely absent and doesn’t participate in the proceedings, nor do they respond to notices from the Court or their spouse. After a certain amount of time and certain criteria have been met, the Court may issue a divorce decree by default.

What is a no-fault divorce?

Since 2016, Illinois has been a “no-fault divorce” state. This means that the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences, as defined by the law, are differences that “have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” that “efforts at reconciliation have failed,” and that “future efforts would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family.”

How can I start a divorce now?

If you are still in the stage where you’re considering whether divorce is the right option for you, we encourage further research by reading up on what divorce and co-parenting look like, asking trusted friends who have been there to share their insights. We also encourage you to consider engaging in counseling, either as a couple or on your own—whether you reconcile or divorce, professional mental health support can be vital in providing a solid foundation for you to build your future on. If you are ready to hire a divorce attorney to draw up your divorce papers and file for divorce, or you need to respond to a petition that has been served on you, book a consultation with us today. We can tell you more about our firm’s principles, learn a bit about your individual situation, and offer an idea for next steps.

The Long and Short of It

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