Initial Pleading in a Divorce Case

The initial pleading in a divorce case is a, “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.”  This is the document that formally begins a divorce case in Illinois; it essentially puts the Court and other party on notice, that you are seeking a divorce.  In this pleading, there are certain facts that must be stated in order for the Court to know that it has jurisdiction over the parties.  The pleading must also give the Court some information regarding the parties so that the divorce process can begin.  Although there can be other information that is also added to the Petition, the information that is standard and required in a Petition for Dissolution is:

-How long the Petitioner has resided in Illinois

-Where and when the marriage took place

-How old the petitioner is how they are employed

-How old the respondent is and how they are employed

-If any children were born or adopted to the parties during their marriage and what their ages are if any

-How long the couple has been separated (mentally separated as well as physically)

-If there are children, where the children have been residing

-Whether or not there are any other pending actions involving the couple or their children

-What caused the breakdown of the marriage (usually irreconcilable differences)

-The Petitioner’s request for non-marital and/or marital property if they are making such a request

-The Petitioner’s request to apportion marital debts if there are any

-The Petitioner’s maiden or name at the time of the marriage

In this initial petition, many people add in other specifics or requests, in particular the request for the other party to pay their attorney’s fees; the state is quite liberal in what it allows parties to add to the Petition in addition to the information listed above.  After this Petition is filed and served on the other party, they will typically have thirty (30) days to respond and file their appearance pro so or through an attorney.  After that, negotiations can begin between the attorneys and a settlement or trial will eventually occur that will finalize the divorce.

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