Where Should I File My Chicago Divorce? Initial Requirements In Chicago Divorce Cases
Often when a person turns to the law to exercise their legal rights they are met with a litany of confusing requirements that they must first meet at the outset, in order to bring a case under the statute or law. When it comes to a Chicago divorce, Illinois laws require that certain elements or criteria be met before a person should consider filing a Chicago divorce case. At first blush, the laws that govern divorces in Illinois may seem confusing, and it may be difficult for a person initiating a Chicago divorce to ascertain if they have met the legal requirements to file for divorce from their spouse. This article discusses two of the key elements that are required at the outset to file a divorce in Chicago: a valid marriage and residency.
A Valid Marriage
Perhaps it goes without saying, but before an individual or spouses can file for a divorce in Chicago under Illinois divorce laws, they must be legally married and the marriage must have been valid. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/213 establishes that “all marriages contracted within this State…or outside of this State, that were valid at the time of the contract or subsequently validated by the laws of the place in which they were contracted or by the domicile of the parties, are valid in this State, except where contrary to the public policy of this State.” Thus, in Illinois, a valid marriage can be one that was entered into inside or outside Illinois.
A Resident of Illinois
Perhaps a more confusing hurdle for most people or spouses seeking a divorce is the residency requirement under Illinois divorce laws that must be established in order to be granted a Chicago divorce. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/401(a) establishes that a court should enter a divorce judgment when “at the time the action was commenced one of the spouses was a resident of this State or was stationed in this State while a member of the armed services, and the residence or military presence had been maintained for 90 days next preceding the commencement of the action or the making of the finding….” What this means is that, in most cases, at least one spouse must have been a resident of Illinois (or a service member stationed in Illinois) for at least 90 days either before the filing of the divorce case, or not less than 90 days before final judgment is to be entered in the divorce case. However, it is important to note that residency requirements may vary depending on certain factors, so it is best to consult with a Chicago divorce lawyer about the particular requirements in each unique case.
Other Requirements and Legal Help with a Chicago Divorce
Determining whether a particular case meets the legal requirements of a Chicago divorce is only the first step in the Chicago divorce process. Importantly, it must be noted that each Chicago divorce case is unique, and there may be other requirements that must be met in order for the court to grant a divorce. In addition, the divorce process, especially if the divorce is contested and if there are complex issues to resolve, can be long and difficult for a person to navigate on their own. If you have questions or would simply like to speak to a lawyer about your Chicago divorce, contact the experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at the offices of Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux and speak to a lawyer today about your rights and options under Illinois divorce laws and to see if they can help.