It would be a mistake to assume that filing your divorce petition is merely a formality. To the contrary, the petition for dissolution of marriage sets the framework — and perhaps the tone — for the entire divorce process.
At The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd., we believe that the petition for dissolution must be tailored to the individual circumstances of your case. In the right context, this document can tell the court more than who you are and what you want. It has strategic implications for the entirety of your divorce and should be carefully prepared by an experienced divorce attorney. Our lawyers take the time to listen to your goals and concerns, from which we craft an overarching strategy for achieving the desired results.
Drawing on 30-plus years of successful divorce litigation, Jeffery Leving and his team help clients avoid unnecessary conflicts but prepare for the inevitable ones. We position clients to protect what is most important and when we go to court we fully intend to win.
"A divorce decree documents the official termination of a life in which both spouses have shared countless hopes, dreams and expectations."
— Jeffery M. Leving, in Fathers' Rights
When Is A Petition For Dissolution Filed?
Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with an Illinois circuit court is the first official step in the divorce process. We say "official" because there are numerous steps either spouse can take prior to filing a petition that can expedite proceedings, including engaging in mediation, negotiating agreements to various disputes and beginning the process of dividing property.
In the eyes of the court, however, the process begins with the petition. Once the petition is filed with the court and correctly served upon the defendant spouse (service may be by substitute service or publication under certain circumstances) he or she may:
(a) file a
response that acknowledges or denies the various allegations in the petition
(b) file a motion to strike the petition as legally defective
(c) file a demand for a bill of particulars in lieu of a response if the petition does not provide sufficient information to respond
(d) file a counterpetition for dissolution
Filing a counterpetition can prevent the opposing party from persuading the court to dismiss their case when it starts to go against them.
The petition and response documents, taken together, allow the court to frame the issues of the case.
A Comprehensive And Strategic Approach
To protect your interests and put your best foot forward in these proceedings, your petition or response should be prepared by an experienced professional. Our attorneys have handled countless divorces in the Chicago area and in family courts of Illinois and throughout the United States. We spend time with you to make sure your petition for the dissolution addresses the key issues in your divorce proceedings:
- Identifying information — The petition should identify each of the spouses, their ages and their current and former addresses, and any minor children born or adopted during the marriage.
- Grounds for divorce — A petition must allege one or more grounds for divorce available under Illinois law. The most frequently alleged ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences — often called no-fault divorce. A petitioner may alternatively or additionally allege any number of fault grounds such as adultery or mental cruelty as long as they can be supported by factual basis.
- Demands for relief — A divorce petition should identify the issues that the petitioner wants the court to settle as well. It should state the desired outcome regarding such issues as child custody, equitable distribution of property, and alimony, with the basic supporting facts for each demand. The petition should also identify any pre-existing agreement between the spouses addressing any of these issues.
- Requests for temporary relief — Because litigated divorce can be a lengthy process, it is often necessary for courts to issue temporary orders to stand in place while the case is pending. These can include temporary custody orders as well as awards of temporary spousal support until the divorce is finalized. In contentious cases, a request for a restraining order may also be inserted to prevent harassment or dissipation of property.
- Verification — All statements asserted in a petition for the dissolution of marriage are made under penalty of perjury. A signed verification to this effect should be included in the document.
Experienced Attorneys Preparing Your Case
Our Illinois lawyers can help craft an approach to your divorce that accomplishes your goals and addresses your concerns. Call our office at 312-702-0862 and contact us online to schedule a private consultation.