No two divorces are alike. For some, the process can be incredibly complex and time-consuming, while for others it could potentially be much more straightforward and relatively quick. That said, for those who are about to embark on moving forward with this decision and will soon work toward dissolving their marriage, having a general idea of the process and its timeline can be helpful in minimizing the uncertainty of what to expect.
Below is a timeline that should give you an idea of the chronology in an average divorce, though you should consult with a divorce attorney for a more accurate understanding of what to expect for your own circumstances:
- In a divorce, one spouse will obtain the services of an attorney who will assist him or her in writing a petition for divorce that explains the why a divorce is being sought and how he or she would like to settle certain key issues, including those related to finances and custody.
- The spouse’s attorney will file this petition with the court.
- Once the court receives this petition for divorce, the other spouse must be served these papers along with a summons that will require his or her response within a specified time frame.
- The served spouse is typically expected to respond within about three weeks. The answer he or she provides will say whether or not he or she agrees with the petition and, if the spouse does not respond, the court will assume he or she agrees to the terms set forth.
- Both spouses will then exchange documents and information on issues regarding property and income. After the exchanged information is examined, the couple or the court can decide on how to divide assets and how to approach alimony and child support.
- Divorcing spouses can opt to voluntarily resolve these issues through alternative methods for divorce, such as mediation or collaborative divorce.
- In the event that both parties able to reach a settlement, the agreement will be shown to a judge during an informal hearing, where he or she will ask a few questions and ensure each party understands the agreement.
- If the judge approves of it, the spouses will be given a divorce decree that will legally bind them to their agreement. However, if the judge does not approve of the agreement, or an agreement is impossible to reach through negotiations, the divorce will go to trial.
- During the divorce trial, the attorney for each spouse will present evidence and arguments on behalf of their client. Based on the evidence and arguments presented, the judge will decide on any unresolved issues, such as child custody, alimony, and property division.
Keep in mind that the length of time necessary to complete this process will entirely depend on your own specific situation and how willing you and your spouse are able to work with each other on a settlement to avoid going through divorce litigation, which can substantially lengthen the duration of your case.
Divorce Attorneys in Illinois
If you made the decision to file for a divorce, you need to seek legal representation as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary mistakes that could cost you time and money. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our Illinois divorce attorneys are here to provide you with the exceptional guidance you need to effectively dissolve your marriage while protecting your interests.
Get started today and contact us at any of our convenient locations to schedule a free consultation with a skilled divorce attorney to discuss your case.