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What you need to know about Divorce


B. Filing Suit
Once your lawyer has been retained, they will begin work on your family law problem. When some clients go to an attorney's office to discuss divorce, they may not have actually decided to take that big step. Many clients wish to know their options first. Alternative dispute resolutions such as negotiation and mediation (discussed below), are options you may want to talk about as well as whether or when to file for divorce. If your attorney raises the issue of reconciliation, they are not questioning your judgment, but are clarifying and confirming that you know your options and want a divorce.

In preparing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the grounds for the divorce are stated, relevant information about the marriage given (i.e., date/place of the marriage; names and ages of children, if any), and a prayer for relief that the person filing ( the Petitioner) hopes the court will grant if the case is decided upon by a judge after a trial or should the court enter a Judgment by Default if the other party (the Respondent) fails to answer timely. Generally, after the Petition is prepared, the completed papers will be submitted to you for review and signature before they are filed.

In order for an Illinois court to grant a divorce, at least one party must be a resident of Illinois at the time the action is filed. That party is deemed to be a resident even if they have lived in the state for one (1) day. To receive a Judgment for Dissolution, however, one must be a resident of Illinois and the county in which the action was filed for ninety (90) days prior to the entry of an Order dissolving the marriage.

After the Petition is filed, it is placed with a process server - a court-appointed official - for service upon the Respondent. After the Respondent has received the papers, the law provides a specific time during which they may respond to your petition. This period may be extended by the court or by agreement between the attorneys.

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