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How to Prepare to File for Divorce

You have made the difficult decision that you need a divorce, and now you have to move forward in the process. If you are at a loss, it is no wonder – divorce is a complicated legal matter that melds with a major transition in your life (which happens to be emotionally fraught). It’s a lot, but an experienced Illinois divorce attorney is on your side and here to help. 

First Things First

The single most important step you can take on the path toward divorce is consulting with a dedicated divorce attorney. The terms of your divorce will directly affect you and your children’s future – as well as your parental and financial rights – which makes the matter too important to go it alone. Protecting your rights from the outset is the best course of action, and the best way to do this is with a seasoned divorce attorney in your corner. 

Know the Basic Requirements

Every state has its own residency requirements when it comes to filing for divorce, and Illinois is no different. In the State of Illinois, one of you must have lived in the state for at least 90 days prior to filing. Further, one of you must reside in the county in which you file. Unlike many other states, Illinois requires no waiting period – or cooling-off period – once you file for an uncontested divorce. Finally, in Illinois, there are no-fault divorces, which means that they are based on irreconcilable differences.  You should also begin to compile all of your records, financial and otherwise, so that you have access to information such as income, assets and liabilities.


Once you have a feel for the divorce process, it’s time to file your petition for dissolution of marriage and to have your spouse served with the papers. This service, however, can be waived in certain circumstances and with certain levels of cooperation that you can discuss with your divorce attorney to determine the best course of action for you. Once your divorce attorney has filed, the next steps can include discovery (which begins with gathering all relevant financial documentation and other pertinent information) that is oftentimes followed by negotiating your divorce terms which can include mediation, judicial input at pre-trial conferences, depositions, and attorney-led conferences. 

Negotiating Terms 

From here, you will move forward with negotiating the terms of your divorce, which is the meat of the matter. While no two divorces ever replicate one another, the basic terms do not vary and include (as applicable):

If you and your divorcing spouse – with the focused legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys – can resolve each applicable divorce term between yourselves, you won’t require the court’s intervention. Even if you do, however, the more terms you are able to resolve on your own, the fewer that will need the court’s attention.

It’s time to Consult with an Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney

The practiced Illinois divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, make your divorce concerns our priority, and we have the experience and drive to help. The terms of your divorce will directly affect both your finances and your rights as a parent, so please don’t wait to contact us for more information today.



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