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Where Should I File My Petition for an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Arlington Heights family law attorneysIf you are thinking about filing for a divorce from your spouse, you will eventually need to know how to do so. Even if you and your spouse are in total agreement that a divorce is necessary, you are likely to have many questions about the divorce process.

Depending your circumstances and the dynamic of your relationship, you and your spouse may very well have spent many months preparing for your divorce—both logistically and emotionally—but the divorce does not formally begin until one of your files a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides rules regarding who is eligible to get divorced in the state and where to file your petition.

Illinois Residency

You qualify to have your divorce handled in the state of Illinois if you or your spouse have been a resident of the state for no less than 90 days prior to the filing. If you or your spouse were stationed in Illinois as part of your military service, your time in Illinois would count toward the residency requirement.

It is important to note that the law does not say that the couple must have resided in Illinois. If, for example, a couple who were married and lived in Wisconsin separated and the wife moved to Cook County, she would be permitted to file for a divorce in Illinois 90 days after her move.

Selecting a Venue

Illinois law also addresses the county where the divorce should be handled, but there is a measure of freedom to choose. The IMDMA states, “[dissolution of marriage] proceedings shall be had in the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides.” However, the law also gives the you the right to file the petition in any county, as long as you provide reasons for selecting a county where neither you nor your spouse currently resides. A hearing would be ordered to allow the court to decide if the county requirement will be waived.

If, however, your spouse files first and you do not agree with his or her choice of venue, you must file an objection immediately with your response to your spouse’s petition. You will not get another chance to protest the chosen location.

No matter where the case is eventually heard, venue is not jurisdictional for divorce cases. This means that you cannot appeal the court’s decisions regarding your divorce on the basis that the petition was filed in a different county.

Call an Arlington Heights Family Lawyer

To learn more about the divorce process in Illinois, contact an experienced Mount Prospect divorce lawyer at A. Traub & Associates. For more than 15 years, our firm has been providing trusted guidance and skilled representation to individuals and families throughout the region. Call 847-749-4182 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team.




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