Tag Archives: divorce petition

5 Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney credit scoreWhether you and your spouse have discussed the possible end of your marriage in detail or you are silently debating your options, once divorce becomes inevitable, there are several steps you need to take to protect your interests during the divorce process. Before filing, set yourself up for success with these tips:

1. Begin Building Your Credit

Spouses often discover post-divorce that they have built up their spouse’s credit while neglecting their own. Without a good credit score, down payments for utilities and housing are often significantly higher, if you are able to get approved in the first place. Open a credit card now and use it to make small purchases that you can pay off each month. The goal is not to create a pile of debt; it is to prepare yourself for future success.

2. Understand the Family Finances

For property division and support payments, it is imperative to understand what you own and what you owe. Gather important documents like your credit report, paycheck stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. This information will not only help a judge determine whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance to cover your family’s financial needs, but it will also assist you in creating a post-divorce budget.

3. Prevent Revenge Spending

If at all possible, pay off and close any joint credit card accounts and open separate bank accounts. Inform creditors of the divorce. If you cannot pay off a card or loan, negotiate a deal to reduce the amount owed while you work to close the account. If neither of these is an option, freeze all accounts to prevent further usage.

4. Remember: You are Not Single Yet

Avoid partying, dating, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning, especially if kids are involved. As always, your children should be your first priority. Remember that divorce is stressful for them, too. How you conduct yourself during your case can affect the decisions made about child custody. If you have a romantic interest, it is often best to wait to pursue that relationship until after the divorce is final.

5. Contact a Divorce Lawyer

Do-it-yourself divorces never end up as quick and easy as they may seem, nor do they save money in the long run. Many of these cases result in long courtroom battles and repeated post-divorce modifications. Our suggestion is to speak to a proven DuPage County divorce attorney. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we can help you understand whether you may be able to use methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation. This may help you reach a shorter and more amicable solution than a divorce through litigation, and it can empower you and your spouse to create your own divorce agreement. However, this avenue sometimes fails, and litigation in court becomes necessary.

Since 1996, our attorneys have been helping clients reach the outcome they need in both ADR and divorce litigation. We can help you understand your rights and requirements during divorce and work with you to reach a positive resolution to your case. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.




The Stages of a Divorce Proceeding

divorce, divorce process, Illinois divorce, Wheaton Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce attorneyAlthough divorces are common enough today that most people have some experience seeing them from the outside, many people do not understand the actual steps of a divorce. Divorce, like many legal proceedings, is broken down into a series of stages. It begins with filing the petition for divorce, and can move all the way into trial, with several steps in between.

 The Divorce Petition

The divorce proceedings begin when the plaintiff, also known as the petitioner, files a petition requesting a divorce. This petition is a piece of paperwork that makes the court aware that the petitioner would like to dissolve the marriage. The actual form itself is often very short, only detailing things like the general grounds for the divorce, the number of children, and other pertinent information. An example of a divorce petition can be seen on the Cook County court’s website.

 Service of Process and Response

 Once the plaintiff files their petition, the next step is to notify the other spouse. This is known as the “service of process.” This involves the plaintiff, or more commonly their lawyer, providing the other spouse with a copy of the petition any other supporting documents that may go along with it. In more amicable divorces, this will often mean simply hiring an independent process server to deliver the complaint or perhaps sending it to the other spouse’s attorney, if they are already aware of the divorce and have sought legal counsel. However, in certain circumstances, the Sheriff’s Department can also be used to serve a spouse.

 Following the service, the other spouse has the opportunity to respond to the petition. This response is simply an acknowledgement that they received the petition, yet may also dispute facts to the extent that the responding spouse disagrees with the petitioner.

 Discovery and Negotiation

After the other spouse responds, the case moves into the discovery phase. This part of the divorce involves valuing the marital assets, which may entail going through the finances, interviewing the spouses, and possibly even retaining experts to give their opinion on the value of certain items. After the estate has been valued, negotiations over the division begin, and many times cases can settle at this point once both sides have come to an agreement with which they can live. These settlement negotiations often also include issues like visitation, child custody, and future support obligations.

 Pretrial Conference

Assuming the parties do not reach a settlement, then the case moves forward to the pretrial conference. This is a discussion between the judge and the lawyers where they talk about the issues that the parties have not been able to settle themselves. While it is not a full trial, this discussion can give the lawyers a sense of the strengths of their cases, which can often encourage them to settle.

 The Trial

If the case still has not settled, then it goes to trial. This is the formal proceeding where the lawyers present their evidence to the judge in open court. It can involve witness testimony, financial documents, and arguments by the attorneys. Once the attorneys finish presenting the evidence and making their cases, the judge makes the final decisions about issues like custody, division of assets, and support obligations.

 If you are thinking about filing for divorce and would like to learn more about the process and your individual case, get in touch with a DuPage County divorce lawyer today. We can provide you with tailored advice for your unique situation.