In a previous blog entry, we discussed Step One in the usual Chicago divorce process. Of course, some cases may require different steps but this blog provides a general overview of the Chicago Divorce process.
At this point, one spouse’s attorney has filed the Petition (the “Petitioner”) and the attorney for the other spouse (the “Respondent”) has filed an Appearance in the case. The Respondent will go through the Petition with his/her attorney and prepare a Response that will be filed. Respondents usually have 30 days after being served or after filing an Appearance to file the Response. In the Response, Respondent either admits or denies each factual allegation stated in the Petition. If Respondent lacks sufficient information to either admit or deny, that can be stated. Respondent may make affirmative statements in appropriate circumstances.
Respondent has the option of filing a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. One of the benefits of filing a Counter-Petition is that Respondent can ensure that the Chicago divorce case continues if Petitioner’s case is dismissed. Perhaps Petitioner may decide that it is no longer the right time to proceed with the divorce case. Petitioner could decide that for financial, strategic or emotional reasons to voluntarily dismiss his/her case. Or, the Court may dismiss Petitioner’s case because Petitioner failed to appear at a hearing or to take certain actions in the case. If Petitioner “flakes” 6 months into the case, Respondent would have to file a new Chicago divorce case and essentially start all over which would waste time and money. If, however, Respondent has filed a Counter-Petition the Chicago divorce case will continue even if Petitioner’s case is dismissed.