Choosing Where to File Your Divorce Petition

divorce petition, DuPage County family lawyerWhen you were deciding whether or not to pursue a divorce, you probably thought about a number of things. Most likely, you considered who would get what property, how parenting arrangements would be handled, and the ways that you would make your life better after ending your marriage. You may not, however, have given much thought to the process of divorce, other than wondering how long it might take and how much it might cost. What about filing your petition for divorce? Did you know that you could have several options regarding where to do so?

County of Residence

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, proceedings for a divorce “shall be had in the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides.” The law does not require you to file in the county where you last lived as a couple; rather, you can choose either the county where you currently live or that of your spouse if you do not reside in the same county. It is possible, albeit unlikely, that the court could direct your case to a different county on its own discretion.

Other Alternatives

The law also recognizes the possibility that there may be a good reason to file your petition in a county where neither of you lives. You may file your divorce petition in any county that you choose, but you must include a motion requesting the court to make an exception to the residency requirement. A common reason for such an exception would be mutual convenience. For example, if you live in Grundy County and your spouse lives in Lake County, it may be much easier, presuming the approval of the court, for your divorce proceedings to be held in DuPage or Cook County, especially if you both work in one of those counties.

Objecting to the Chosen Venue

If your spouse filed the petition for divorce before you could, and you disagree with his or her choice of venue, you must file your objection immediately with your response to the divorce petition. You will not get a second chance to do so. Once the proceedings begin, the jurisdiction of the court is not grounds for appealing the decision. All county courts have equal authority for deciding divorce cases in Illinois, regardless of where the parties reside in the state.

Divorce can be a complicated process, but an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you along the way. Call the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today at [[phone]] to schedule a confidential consultation.



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