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Chicago Divorce Checklist

If you are going through a Chicago divorce, you will want to be prepared.

This article will explain the basics of Chicago divorces. It will also help you understand how to hire a Chicago divorce lawyer.

Chicago Divorce Requirements

To get a Chicago divorce, you must first meet some preliminary requirements.

First, either you or your spouse must meet certain residency requirements. In Chicago, either spouse must have lived in Cook County for 90 days before the end of the divorce proceedings.

You also have to have grounds for divorce. Grounds simply means a reason for the divorce. In Chicago, there are two types of divorces: No-fault and fault. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither spouse blames the other for the marriage's end. A fault-based divorce is one in which one of the spouses alleges the other spouse committed wrongdoing, which serves as the grounds, or reason for the divorce.

In Chicago no-fault divorces, the grounds cited for the divorce are irreconcilable differences. If you file for this type of a divorce, you and your spouse will have to prove to the judge there has been a breakdown in your marriage, both of you have been living separately for two years, you have attempted counseling and all efforts to reconcile the marriage have failed.

If you are filing for a Chicago fault-based divorce, you will have to cite one of the following grounds as the reason for the breakdown of your marriage:

  • Mental cruelty
  • Physical cruelty
  • Habitual intoxication or drug use
  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • Imprisonment

Hiring a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

If you believe you fulfill the requirements to file for a Chicago divorce, you should consider hiring a Chicago divorce attorney. Chicago divorce lawyers can use their expertise to help manage your divorce.

To find a Chicago divorce lawyer, ask your friends and family members for referrals. Ask those you know who have gone through a divorce if they would recommend their Chicago divorce attorneys

You can also use a site like Whether you live in Lincoln Park, Hyde Park, Edgewater or another area of Chicago, can help connect you to a Chicago divorce lawyer.

To start the process, fill out the brief form on this site or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, will connect you to at least one Chicago divorce attorney. That lawyer will call you within two business days, or you can contact him at your own convenience.

Next, you should set up an initial consultation with any lawyer you are interested in hiring. A consultation is an initial meeting with the attorney. This meeting gives you the opportunity to find out about the lawyer and his practice, tell the lawyer about your divorce case and decide whether to hire him.

You should prepare questions in advance of your consultation. Some questions you should consider asking include:

  • Does the attorney mainly work on divorce cases?
  • How long has he handled Chicago divorce cases?
  • Would this lawyer be the only person working on your case? If not, can you meet the other members of the team?
  • Does the attorney have experience with child custody, spousal support and child support issues?
  • What type of fee arrangement does he use? How much does he cost?

Also, remember to bring a pen and paper to each meeting to take notes.

Once you have had a chance to speak to any attorney you are interested in, hire the lawyer you think is the best fit for your case.

Filing for Divorce in Chicago

Your Chicago divorce attorney will help you manage and file all your divorce paperwork. Still, you should have some understanding of the divorce filing process.

In Chicago, the divorce begins with the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. After either you or your spouse files this petition with the Cook County Circuit Court, the other spouse will be served with a copy and given a chance to respond.

If you and your spouse are filing for a no-fault divorce and agree on key issues of the dissolution, including child custody, parental visitation, debts, assets and child support, then you both can finalize the divorce without a trial. This is often an ideal situation for both parties because the trial process can be both lengthy and costly. Even in situations where there is disagreement, many parties come to an agreement through negotiation and advice from lawyers.

If the two parties cannot reach an agreement about these important issues, then the court will set a trial date.

After the petition is filed with the court, you and your attorney can request a hearing to get temporary rules put in place regarding the divorce. These rules will outline such things as child custody and child visitation rights. The outcome of the temporary hearing will last until a judgment is reached in the divorce case.