Chronology of Divorce
Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC

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Chronology of Divorce

Chronology of Divorce Attorneys

Procedures and Vocabulary of Dissoluton in Illinois

1. Petition for Dissolution - The Petition is the original document which is filed with the Clerk of the Court identifying the parties, where they live, when and where they were married, names and ages of children, places of employment, grounds for dissolution and request to provide child support, maintenance, division of marital assets and asking the Court to dissolve the marriage. The cost to file the Petition is $223.00 in Kendall County, $282.00 in Kane County, $301.00 in Will County, and $290.00 in DuPage County.

2. Service - Your spouse is served with a copy of the Petition for Dissolution. By law this can be done by the Sheriff or a Special Process Server delivering a copy of the Petition to the residence or place of work of your spouse. Alternatively, you can give it to your spouse, or your spouse can pick up a copy of the Petition at our office, or your spouse's attorney can contact us and we will forward a copy of the filed Petition to that attorney. If service is not done by the Sheriff or Special Process Server your spouse will be asked to sign an Appearance form and tender a check in the amount of $123.00 in Kendall County, $167.00 in Kane County, $186.00 in Will County, and $175.00 in DuPage County, payable to the “Clerk of the Court.” Their Appearance may be filed by us with the Clerk of the Court. If your spouse does not respond to this alternate form of service within a reasonable amount of time after the Petition is filed we will make arrangements to send the Petition with a Summons to the Sheriff for service as required by law.

3. Response - This is a document that will be filed as your spouse’s answer to the Petition. It will admit the facts that are alleged in the Petition which are true and will deny the allegations regarding the grounds, need for support, maintenance, and ask the Court to dismiss the matter.

4. Status Date - When the Petition is filed it will be assigned a number, a Judge and an automatic status date. This will be a date approximately 4 months following the date in which the Petition was filed. At this status date the attorneys appear before the Court to advise the status of the case. Typically the court requires a status date every month thereafter to ensure that the matter is moving forward to resolution. The parties are not required to be at court unless it is set for hearing or other concern; but clients are always welcome to attend court.

5. Discovery - This is the process by which we determine what property is owned by the parties and other important facts concerning the issues of the case. This may include requests for a Financial Declaration, a Notice to Produce which requests certain documents and records to be delivered to the other attorney, and the scheduling of depositions.

6. Pre-Trial Conference - This is a conference in the Judge's chamber with the attorneys of the parties. The Judge will hear an informal discussion of the concerns of the parties and the issues remaining and will attempt to make a settlement proposal for the parties to consider. This conference is done before the Judge who will hear your case. It is hoped that at the conclusion of the pre-trial conference that negotiations can occur so progress can be made toward settlement of the case.

7. Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) and Joint Parenting Agreement (JPA) - The MSA and JPA are negotiated agreements between the parties that resolve all of the issues of custody, support, maintenance, visitation, and division of marital and non-marital assets. These documents will be presented to the Court at the Prove-Up and will be included in the Judgment for Dissolution.

8. Prove-Up - The Prove-Up is the brief hearing before the Court upon the completion of a divorce which is resolved by agreement of the parties. At the prove up testimony is heard from the Petitioner regarding the allegations which are set forth in the original Petition; the MSA and JPA are identified and admitted into evidence; and the parties each are heard to testify to their acceptance of the agreement and their willingness to be bound by it. The Court will make findings regarding the dissolution of the marriage and incorporation of the agreements into the Judgment of Dissolution.

9. Trial - In the event the parties are unable to reach an agreement on MSA and JPA the matter will be set for trial and evidence will be presented to a Judge without a jury regarding assets of the parties, income, living expenses, needs of the children and other issues that the Court must decide. At a trial, the Judge will resolve all issues not stipulated and agreed to by the parties and the Judge's determination is final.

10. Judgment of Dissolution - This is the decree which is signed by the Judge officially dissolving the marriage. The marriage is dissolved when the Judgment of Dissolution is signed by the Judge.

11. Support Order - If you or your spouse is required to pay support to the other for the benefit of your spouse or children, this support may be paid through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU), a payment clearing house. The Clerk of the Court and SDU keep accurate records of all payments made. A Support Order is entered at the time of the entry of the Judgment of Dissolution.

12. Order of Withholding - This Order is required to be entered whenever support payments must be made for the benefit of a spouse or children. This Order requires the employer of the payor to withhold the amount of the regular monthly child support payment from the employee's paycheck and forward the amount to the SDU as the Support Order requires.

13. Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) - In the event either spouse is a participant in a retirement plan, profit sharing, or pension it may be agreed by the parties or the Court may order that the non-participant spouse in the plan be given an amount or percentage interest in that profit sharing or pension plan if, as, and when the employed spouse receives benefits. The Order providing for division of the plan is entitled a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Pursuant to federal law the entry of a QDRO and the transfer of such monies does not cause an early withdrawal penalty or tax consequence.

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