In Bloomington, Illinois, you must utilize the court system to legally terminate a marriage. The decision to end a marriage is never an easy one. It’s important to know as much as you can about the process before beginning. We have compiled a comprehensive set of Divorce FAQs to help ensure you are comfortable as you begin your divorce:

Q: Do I have to give a reason to get divorced in Bloomington, Illinois?

A: No. Illinois requires only irreconcilable differences as grounds for divorce. In addition, any fault or poor behavior of either spouse is not considered for the division of marital property. (However, financial misconduct may result in one spouse returning any wasted funds to the other.)

Q: Is there a difference between a divorce, an annulment, and a legal separation in McLean County?

A: A divorce legally ends your marriage. Depending on your situation, the court may order alimony, division of property, and pensions as well as child custody, visitation, and child support if you have children. A legal separation does not end the marriage in a legal sense but sets provisions for property or child issues if you no longer wish to live together. Finally, an annulment is a court order ending the marriage, but it differs from a divorce in that it also states that the marriage never happened. Annulments can be difficult to justify. You must usually prove your spouse lied or withheld information that would have prevented you from entering into the marriage in the first place, such as your spouse already being married when your marriage took place.

Q: Should I hire a lawyer?

A: In some cases where both you and your spouse are likely to agree on each separate condition of the divorce and will remain in agreement regarding things like child custody, alimony, and division of property, you may not need a lawyer. However, in the vast majority of cases, it’s a good idea to hire a divorce lawyer familiar with the divorce process and the associated court proceedings – particularly if you have children.

Q: What resources are available in Bloomington if I decide to represent myself?

A: McLean County has provided resources for Self-Represented Litigants with some commonly used documents, including printable and E-File versions of name change and dissolution of marriage forms. In addition, the county has assembled a step-by-step guide with screenshots to guide you through the process.

Q: Can I use the same lawyer as my spouse?

A: No. While you and your spouse may have formerly utilized the same lawyer for other court actions, doing so during a divorce presents a conflict of interest.

Q: How long does a divorce take in Bloomington?

A: If your divorce is uncontested, it can be finalized in as little as three to six weeks, not including mandatory parenting classes for those with children. However, if you and your spouse do not agree on the terms of the divorce, the process can take months as you negotiate each point.

Q: Will I need to go to court in McLean County?

A: Yes. Even if you and your spouse agree to all the terms of the divorce, you will need to attend one hearing as all terms are resolved. If there are multiple points of disagreement, you may need to attend a series of hearings to resolve each issue. Fortunately, our firm can help prepare you for your court appearance to ensure you feel comfortable with the proceedings.

Q: Where should I file for divorce in Illinois?

A: According to the state of Illinois, you must file for divorce in your county of residence (or, in your spouse’s country of residence. However, if you have children, you must have resided in that county for at least six months prior to filing.

Q: When can I file for divorce in Bloomington?

A: There is no waiting period to file for divorce in Illinois, but either you or your spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before the final judgment is entered. In other words, you can file for divorce even if you have lived in Illinois for under 90 days as long as you pass the 90-day mark by the time the divorce is finalized.

Q: Should I file my Bloomington, Illinois divorce first?

A: If you live in a different county than your spouse, you may be able to ensure divorce proceedings take place in your county of residence if you file first.

Q: If my spouse does not want a divorce, can they stop the process?

A: In Illinois, your spouse cannot prevent a divorce once you have filed.

Q: What happens after I file divorce paperwork in McLean County?

A: Once you complete and file divorce paperwork for your Bloomington divorce, your spouse will be served. In McLean County, “service” means the McLean County Sheriff and a process server will officially provide notice of the divorce, request a notice of orders signature for any upcoming hearings, and provide a copy of the paperwork.

Q: Will the court decide issues like child support and alimony before my divorce is final?

A: In the vast majority of cases, the court will resolve all issues, including child custody, child support, visitation, property division, and alimony, in one final judgment. In rare cases, the court may determine that dissolving the marriage is a more urgent matter than resolving each issue and may reserve the issue for a later date. However, in this case, while the order dissolving the marriage legally ends the marriage, the divorce is only considered final once all other issues are finalized.

Q: What if I disagree with the final order?

A: According to Illinois law, you have the right to appeal any decisions contained within the judge’s final order with which you disagree. You have 30 days to file an appeal, and then a higher court will review the case.

Q: Where can I get a copy of my McLean County divorce decree?

A: After your divorce is finalized, you can request a copy of your divorce decree in person, by phone, or by email. Please see McLean county guidance for pricing and address information.

Q: How much will a divorce cost in Bloomington, Illinois?

A: Divorce costs will vary widely depending on the nature of your case. More complex cases requiring multiple court hearings, documents, and depositions will naturally become more expensive than a simple, uncontested divorce. Your costs will include court costs, document production costs, deposition fees, and legal fees, but it is impossible to determine the cost before your lawyer has a chance to review your case.

If you have additional questions regarding your property rights or what happens after your divorce – or to begin filing your divorce today – please contact Stange Law Firm at your earliest convenience.