40 to 50% of all marriages end in divorce in the United States. However, just because divorces are common, doesn’t mean they’re easy to navigate or devoid of stress and hardship. Far from it, anyone in this position knows it’s rarely an easy decision.

Understanding the process involved may demystify the path ahead and ease the stress associated with the decision. Are you wondering how to get a divorce in Illinois?

Keep reading to learn seven essential steps involved in making it happen.

1. Contested or Uncontested?

The first step in the process is to understand if the divorce will be contested or uncontested.

Uncontested means you’re both on the same page. You and your partner agree with the terms and way forward. These are relatively simple divorces to enact. The opposite is true (in all regards!) for contested divorces.

2. Satisfy Eligibility Criteria

There are certain criteria to fulfill in Illinois to get a divorce.

For example, anyone filing for divorce must have been living there for a minimum of 6 months.

However, those are by no means the only criteria to be aware of! Be sure to check out the marriage and dissolution act as a source of vital information.

3. Get Your Affairs in Order

It’s important to prepare in advance for your divorce.

That means getting your affairs in order beforehand. Finances, property, estate plans, and so on need to be managed and updated.

This often begins by gathering all documentation together (including retirement plans and so on) to assess your household’s financial situation. Be aware that, by law, all marital property must be divided equitably between partners.

It’s essential to know the property owned together and separately.

4. Prepare Financially

It pays to take steps to prepare the necessary funds. Set up a personal bank account of which your partner is unaware. Start saving and consider applying for a credit card.

Conditions apply, but access to credit may be important in the coming process.

5. Hire a Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is an important step when you’re unsure of the way forward.

They will be able to support you throughout the entire process.

Here’s a list of top divorce attorneys to consider.

6. File for Divorce

The first step to filing the divorce is completing the correct documentation.

Head to the Illinois Legal Aid website, where you’ll find the right resources. The documentation varies by circumstance. However, the website will direct you to the right place. Create multiple copies.

With these signed, it’s a matter of serving your partner (when contested) or going straight to a hearing. File the documents, for a fee, with the court to get this organized.

7. Go to the Hearing

If children are involved, and custody disagreements are a problem, then mediation will be required.

Unsuccessful mediation ends in a trial.

The final step is to go to a hearing. This is a chance for the judge to find out if everything is ready for trial. Scheduled via the court, you’ll receive a date to show up and make your case.

Final Thoughts on How to Get a Divorce in Illinois

There you have it: 7 essential steps detailing how to get a divorce in Illinois.

Hopefully, the information here has been a useful insight into the process for any Illinois resident considering filing for one.

Want further marriage-related advice? Head to the lifestyle section of the blog.

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