Most people are somewhat familiar about how to get married in the State of Illinois. The couple must fill out a marriage application and they both must sign the application. The couple must appear in-person in front of the county clerk with their application and must pay the required marriage license fee. The county clerk then issues the marriage license and a marriage certificate form. Then the couple can get married. The marriage must be solemnized. This is usually done by a judge, an ordained minister, or at a church. The marriage certificate form is then sent to the county clerk and the county clerk registers the marriage. What about how to the requirements before filing for divorce in Illinois?
The Basic Requirements Before Filing for Divorce
Beginning the divorce process for dissolution of marriage in Illinois the following statements must be true:
1. One of the parties is a resident of or is stationed in (if a member of the armed services), Illinois for at least ninety (90) days prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.
2. There has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means that the parties are divorcing due to “irreconcilable differences.” There are no other grounds for divorce in Illinois.
3. The court must determine that the couple’s efforts at reconciliation have failed and that future attempts at reconciliation would be unproductive and not in the best interests of the family. It’s important to note that there is an irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met if the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least six months immediately preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the parties’ marriage. Also, note that parties do not have to be physically living separate and apart for the court to determine that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met.
What is Required in Your Petition for Dissolution?
In a petition for dissolution of marriage, you must state your age, your occupation and where you live. You must also state this information regarding your spouse. You must state how long you both have been residents of the state. The court will need to know the date of your marriage and where your marriage was registered. You must let the court know if there are other petitions for dissolution of marriage pending in any other states or countries. You must state that there has been a breakdown in the marriage that has caused an irretrievable breakdown. If there are children of the marriage you must list their names and ages and you must state where they reside. The court will need to know whether or not a spouse is currently pregnant at the time the action is commenced. If you and your spouse have any arrangements regarding the terms of the divorce (child support, allocation of parental responsibilities for decision-making and parenting time, maintenance, etc.) you must state so. Some couples have pre-marital or postnuptial agreements and they need to state that in their petition for dissolution of marriage. You must also, of course, state what you are seeking as far as the terms of the divorce if there is no agreement. Where will the children live? Who will pay child support? How will assets and debts be divided?
After Filing your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
The filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage begins the dissolution process. The other spouse will need to file their appearance and response to the petition. If the parties are able to reach an agreement regarding the terms of the divorce, then the process really speeds up. This is referred to as an ‘uncontested” case. If the parties are not in agreement, then there will eventually be a trial after discovery is completed. This is referred to as a “contested” case. In the meantime, there will likely be litigation regarding temporary issues, such as support and parenting time.
Keep in mind that if you and your spouse have any minor children from your marriage, the Judge will likely order you both to complete a parenting class before the entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. This is likely regardless of whether the divorce is contested or not. Some counties in Illinois give the option for the parties to take an online parenting class to satisfy this requirement but others only allow the parties to take the parenting class in-person. Note that it does not matter if your child is seven months old or seventeen years old. The Judge can order a parenting class if there are minor children. There is usually a fee associated with the parenting class, whether in person or online.
When it comes time to proceed with divorce is important, it’s helpful to have an experienced attorney by your side to guide you through the process. At Anderson & Boback, all we do is family and divorce law. Feel free to contact one of our experienced divorce attorneys about any questions you may have including what you need to know before filing for divorce.