The Six Legal Steps of the Divorce Process

Divorce is a major change in anyone’s life.  This change can lead to some stress about the uncertainty of what is going to come next.  To alleviate any unnecessary strain, it is important to understand the legal process of divorce.

1. File the Petition for Divorce

The petition serves essentially as a notice to the other spouse and to the divorce court that one spouse (the petitioner) wants a divorce.  The petition includes basic information about the divorce such as custody, support, and the grounds for divorce.

2. Serve the Petition and Summons to Appear in Court

The petition is then served to the other spouse (the respondent) in a process called “service of process.”  It is necessary that the defendant signs this notice.  If the divorce is amicable, this shouldn’t be an issue.  If the divorce is contentious, professional process servers can deliver the paperwork.

3. The Defendant’s Response

In the process of a divorce, the respondent can write a response to the petition.  This is an opportunity to dispute certain issues of the divorce that are not agreeable.  If there is no issue with the terms then the divorce can generally be completed out of court.

4. Discovery and Settlement

This period allows both parties to investigate the financial estimates of the other spouse to assist in the division of property.  If there is an agreement then a Marital Settlement is drafted covering issues like custody and visitation along with a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage which is presented to the judge for a final judgment.

5. Pretrial Conference

If an agreement is not reached, then both attorneys will present their client’s positions to the Judge to receive recommendations.  This is the last moment to conclude a divorce without going to trial.

6. Trial

Going to trial will add significant time to finalizing your divorce.  This is the time that your attorney will bring experts, witnesses, and build your case to gain the consolations which you require.  Contact a skilled divorce attorney in DuPage County who can help resolve your major concerns about divorce.

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