The Illinois Divorce Process
When you are served with divorce papers in DuPage County, you are likely to have many questions about the next stages of the Illinois divorce process and how they will impact you. Whenever you are going through a divorce, it is extremely important to have an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney on your side. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we have years of experience helping members of the Muslim community in Oakbrook Terrace and surrounding areas, and we can speak with you about your case today.
In the meantime, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of the steps that will follow after you have been served with divorce papers in Illinois.
Filing a Written Response to the Petition for Divorce
If you were served with divorce papers, this means that your spouse already has filed a petition for dissolution of marriage, which is required to begin the process of divorce under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA recently underwent some substantial changes, including the abolition of “grounds for divorce.” As such, the petition for dissolution of marriage filed by your spouse need not set forth any grounds for divorce under the way. Instead, Illinois is now what is known as a “no fault” state when it comes to divorce. This allows either spouse to file a petition for dissolution of marriage following a six-month period of living “separate and apart,” as long other specific requirements have been met.
Under the law, the spouse who has been served with divorce papers has 30 days to file a response. It is extremely important to work with a DuPage County family law attorney as soon as possible at this point, given that the spouse served with the divorce papers should use the response time to petition or move for temporary maintenance or temporary support.
You should know that if you fail to file a response, the petitioner (your spouse) can move for a default judgment. In such a case, the petitioner will need to be able to show that you were served with divorce papers and knew you had a specific time period in which you needed to respond and that you failed to do so. If this happens, then the divorce process will move forward, and the court will divide marital property and may assign spousal maintenance or child support if your spouse has moved for such items in the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Working with a Lawyer on Property Valuation in Preparation for Division
After you have filed a response, it is essential that you begin working with your lawyer to account for marital property. This includes marital assets as well as marital debts. If your spouse was the primary earner in the family, this step will be particularly important to ensure that no marital assets are hidden. Once all marital property has been identified and accounted for, your DuPage County divorce lawyer can provide assistance with property valuation. In Illinois, marital property is divided under a theory of “equitable division,” which means that assets and debts of the marriage will be divided in a manner that is equitable (or fair) to both parties.
This is also an important point to begin thinking about child custody matters if you have children with your spouse. Illinois law concerning child custody changed recently. The term “child custody” has been replaced with the term “parental responsibilities” under the law, and the court will allocate parental responsibilities, which can include making important decisions about the child’s upbringing and future, as well as providing day-to-day care for the child.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
If you have been served with divorce papers in DuPage County, you should have an experienced advocate on your side. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, our passionate DuPage County family law attorneys are dedicated to helping Muslim clients who are dealing with divorce and child custody matters. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your case.