How Do I File for Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on November 22, 2023 in Divorce

Kane County Divorce LawyerWhile the concept of divorce is something most people are familiar with, the actual steps taken to make a divorce happen are not generally common knowledge. If you have never been through divorce proceedings yourself, it would be unusual for you to know what needs to be done. If you find yourself considering divorce and you do not know where to begin, an experienced Kane County, IL, divorce lawyer can explain to you all the steps that need to be taken and what all the terms mean so that you can move forward with knowledge and confidence.

Filing for Divorce

When a couple, or either spouse, wishes to get divorced, the first thing that needs to happen is that someone needs to go to court to file for divorce. Whoever does this is referred to as the petitioner, and the other spouse is referred to as the respondent. The petitioner needs to go to a court where they live. If they do not live with their spouse, they can also choose to file for divorce in a court where their spouse lives.

As the petitioner, you will need to pay a filing fee. The fee varies from county to county. However, fee waivers are available if you cannot afford to pay it.

Serving Papers

Once the petitioner has filed for divorce, they will be given something called a summons, which is a document informing the other spouse that they have filed for divorce. They then need to serve the respondent with the document, meaning it needs to be delivered to them. This “Service” or delivery must be done properly. Otherwise, it might not be considered legally admissible.

There are three ways a petitioner can serve the respondent with the summons: They can send it to the other spouse using certified mail, they can have the sheriff deliver it, or they can hire a professional process server. However it is done, the petitioner will be given an “affidavit of service” confirming that the respondent received it.

Responding to the Summons

Once someone is served with the summons, they need to respond to it within 30 days, which is why they are called the respondent. If the respondent does not respond, the petitioner can receive what is called a default judgment, meaning they will likely get whatever they asked for within reason in the divorce settlement. That is why it is important for the respondent to respond on time.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL, Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce but could use some guidance, a knowledgeable Kane County, IL, divorce lawyer can explain the entire process to you and help you set reasonable expectations about how you can best protect your interests. At Goostree Law Group, we offer free consultations, so please call 630-584-4800 to begin advocating for your rights.

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