I Got Served, What Next? How To Decode Your Chicago Dissolution Of Marriage Papers
Sometimes it is obvious that a divorce is coming. When spouses haven’t lived in the same house or act like they don’t live in the same house, haven’t spoken for months, and are maybe even seeing other people, the next logical step is probably to officially file for divorce. Sometimes, however, divorce is a complete surprise. Perhaps a couple is working on things, or maybe one spouse thinks things are blissful, when the reality is that the other spouse has completely checked out of the relationship and marriage and it is time to move on. Whether a person feels like their divorce was inevitable, or they feel like it comes completely out of nowhere, being served with Chicago divorce papers can feel intimidating and confusing for anyone. For that reason, we have put together a short guide on decoding your Chicago divorce papers that defines some of the key terms included in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Decoding Your Chicago Divorce Petition
- “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”: The legal name for the document that initiates a Chicago divorce is a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”. “Dissolution of Marriage” has the same meaning as “divorce” in Chicago under Illinois marriage and divorce laws;
- “County”: This is the jurisdiction where the divorce papers have been filed. Importantly, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage papers will state the county where the divorce action has been filed and where the case is currently situated. This does not mean that the divorce papers were properly filed in the county of jurisdiction, which is an issue you may want to discuss with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer;
- “Petitioner”: This is the person who has initiated the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is the other spouse in the marriage;
- “Respondent”: This is the person who the papers are being filed against and who must respond to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is the non-filing spouse;
- “Case Number”: This is the number issued by the court to identify the case in the court record and docket. This number is important to know, as it will be used for the duration of the case (unless the case is transferred or there is some other reason for the number to change);
- “Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”: Simply put, this is the only “grounds” for divorce in Illinois. What this means is that the marriage is effectively beyond repair and it cannot be repaired, such that the spouses, or one spouse, now turn to the court to end the marriage;
- “Jurat”: This is the certification by the petitioner that the statements made in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage are true. Importantly, legal documents filed with the court, including the Petition for Dissolution of marriage, are filed under penalty of perjury.
Help with Your Chicago Divorce
Whether you are responding to a divorce or are seeking a divorce, the Chicago divorce process is complex. The terms listed above are only some of the terms typically seen in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, and there are many more important things to learn about your Chicago divorce as you go through the process. If you are seeking a divorce in Chicago or have been served with divorce papers, it is important to speak with a Chicago divorce lawyer. Contact the experienced and skilled Chicago divorce lawyers at the law offices of Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC, today and learn about your rights and options in your Chicago divorce.