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HBOG Law Group, LLP

Get Your Questions Answered - Call Me For Your Free, 20 Min Phone Consultation (312) 779-0098

When Couples Decide To Proceed With A Divorce In Illinois, What Generally Are The Options To Do So?

When couples decide they will be proceeding with divorce in Illinois, we recommend filing a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. In terms of the options you have when proceeding with a divorce, there’s really only one choice: file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.

True, there is an option for couples to file for legal separation, however it’s rare to encounter a scenario in which this option makes sense for any party. The real “options” that we discuss with clients are concerned with how to keep costs and fees of divorce proceedings as low as possibly – generally, how contested is the divorce going to be and how many financial documents need to be reviewed. Happy divorces cost less.

If there are other issues that need to be addressed, such as child support, custody, and alimony, then we can include those in the initial petition or file them as separate motions following your petition.

Ultimately, these pleadings will determine your allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (Custody and Visitation) and may include specifications about Child Support or Spousal Maintenance (Alimony).

Some of the things we may discuss when counseling couples through divorce may also be related to: how to save on costs and fees, how to find a place to stay, how to make sure child care is paid for during the pendency, and health insurance coverage. These are matters we discuss on a case to case basis with each client.

Likewise, we are happy to discuss the variety of options regarding how to distribute marital assets and debts, as well as provisions such as how you’re going to pay for college for your kids.

To sum up as far as starting divorce proceedings, we definitely recommend filing the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage as quickly as possible and then dealing with the other issues from there. It’s more important to get it started than to get everything included and figure out every little detail of the divorce.

Is There Any Benefit To Being The Person Who Files?

Absolutely, there is a huge benefit to being the person who files for divorce, in that you can control the speed of the case to a certain extent.

When filing a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage, you become the “petitioner”. It is within your legal right to withdraw your Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage at any point without prejudice. “Without Prejudice” refers to the fact that you would be allowed to re-file a petition for divorce again if you have already withdrawn one before.

Additionally, as a petitioner, you will not have to spend money in fees to file a response to the respondent’s counter petition.

As a respondent, a counter petition is filed to protect their right to the divorce proceedings and any legal fees that they invest along the way in the event that the petitioner withdraws the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.

There are rare cases that get to trial at which point the petitioner withdraws their petition just beforehand, resulting in the cancellation of the trial. This can be after as long as 18 months of legal battles and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and there are no penalties for withdrawal.

The best practice as a respondent is to file a counter petition so that, if the initial petition is withdrawn, you have the counter petition pending and can move forward as the petitioner if you choose.

Being the respondent in a divorce proceeding is a less expensive position as it does not require you to pay for the other party to be served and the filing fee for a counter petition tends to be approximately $150 less than the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.

Otherwise, the primary benefit with being the initial petitioner is you get to control the speed at which the litigation’s going. Additionally, if the respondent does not respond to your petition, you can file a Default in which the terms of your petition are granted with impunity.

The only time we may advise against moving forward as the petitioner may be if you and the respondent live in different counties. This is because the “venue” or court that will handle the divorce will be in the county where the respondent lives.

It is important to consider all your options when considering filing for divorce.

As a petitioner, your benefit will be in speed and control. As a respondent, your benefits may be in lower costs and some control over the venue.

In any situation, this tends to be an abstract matter that is usually irrelevant for the typical party. So we simply recommend filing any divorce case right away in order to have the most control over the proceedings. There is usually no reason to wait.

For more information on Family Law In Illinois, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (312) 779-0098 today.

HBOG Law Group, LLP

Get Your Questions Answered - Call Me For Your Free,
20 Min Phone Consultation (312) 779-0098

We Service Cook, Dupage And Will Co Counties. Get Your Questions Answered - Call Me For A Free, 20-Minute Phone Consultation - (312) 779-0098

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