At the Illinois family law firm of Manassa, Neugebauer, Calzaretta & Stassen, P.C., we guide clients through every step of the divorce process, protecting their rights, finances, relationships and futures. Here is an overview of the general process in Illinois for a litigated divorce:
- Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. This is a brief document that contains very basic facts about the parties involved and states the grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce can be irreconcilable differences, adultery, bigamy, physical or mental cruelty, desertion, drug addiction, felony convictions or impotency.
- Service of process. After the petition is filed, the respondent will receive a copy of the petition and a summons to appear in court.
- Response to the petition. The spouse who was served (the respondent) has 30 days to file a formal, written response. If he or she does not, the court may enter a default judgment and grant the divorce.
- Financial investigation, negotiation and settlement. During this stage of the case, called "discovery," the value of the marital estate will be determined. After the value is ascertained, settlement negotiations may commence. If both parties reach an agreement in regard to child custody, property division and other issues, a Marital Settlement Agreement is presented to the judge, along with a proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.
- Pretrial conference. If the parties cannot agree, their lawyers may submit the controversial issues to the judge and receive the judge's recommendations.
- Trial. If a pretrial conference and negotiation are not successful, the case will go to trial. This is often a lengthy and expensive last resort for obtaining a divorce.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Methods
Instead of going to court over contested issues, many divorcing couples choose alternative dispute resolutions methods, which are often quicker and less costly than trial. These methods include:
- Divorce mediation: Both parties work with a neutral mediator to reach mutually acceptable compromises on difficult issues.
- Collaborative divorce: With the help of their separate attorneys, both parties commit to resolve their contested issues by negotiation, compromise and agreement.
Learn More About Filing For Divorce
To schedule a free initial consultation with Manassa, Neugebauer, Calzaretta & Stassen, P.C., call our Barrington or Crystal Lake office at 847-282-4051 or 847-221-5511, or contact us online.