When you are considering divorce, there is a seemingly unending list of things to think about. Will you keep the family home? Who will be responsible for the children? Will you have to pay child support or alimony? In many cases, the implications of the divorce are given more thought than the process itself. The process includes filing the necessary paperwork, responding to the court when required, and remaining in compliance with deadlines and court orders. For many, the first important decision to be made is in regard to where the petition for divorce should be filed. An experienced divorce attorney can help you make the right choice for your unique situation.
What the Law Says
According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the proceedings for a divorce are to take place in the county in which either the petitioner or the respondent resides. If you are the spouse who files, you are the petitioner, and your spouse would be the respondent. This means that the law presumes that you will file for divorce in the county where you live or where your spouse currently lives. The law also provides that your divorce matter may be redirected to any county within the state of Illinois as needed.
As you might expect, there are exceptions to almost every rule. You have the right to file your divorce in any county that you would like, though you will be required to justify your choice. If you file your petition in a county other than your home county or that of your spouse, you must include with your petition your reasons for choosing that county. For example, assume that you and your spouse spent 15 years of marriage in DuPage County. When you separated, you found an apartment in Cook County, while your spouse moved in with a friend in Kane County. If you filed in DuPage County on the basis that most of your marital life was spent in that county, it would be up to the court to decide whether to keep the case in DuPage County or direct it somewhere else.
Objecting Choice of Venue
If your spouse was the one who filed the petition and he or she chose a county that you do not believe is an appropriate setting for your divorce, you have the right to object. You must provide your reasons for objecting with your initial response to the divorce petition, as such objections will not be heard later in the process.
The law clearly states that the venue for a divorce proceeding is not jurisdictional. This means that each county has the same authority under state law to rule on a divorce and that you cannot appeal a divorce ruling on the basis that the matter was heard in the wrong county.
Legal Guidance for Your Divorce
A divorce can be confusing and complicated, so it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate at your side. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce lawyer to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 847-253-3100 and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have.