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Naperville, IL 60564

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What’s Divorce Really Like?


Clients come into our office with all sorts of questions about divorce. Aside from the specific questions that are going to be unique to all cases, the one question we get the most is “What is divorce really like?”

It makes sense why people come to us with this question. After all, most of what people know about divorce is what their friends tell them or perhaps what they’ve seen on television. And while friends may have some sort of idea of the process having gone through it themselves, it’s still important to set yourself straight before you pay any Naperville divorce lawyer’s retainer.

We wrote this article to help anyone considering divorce learn more about the process, how cases begin, how they proceed, and what to expect up through your prove up day and thereafter. We hope it accomplishes this for you and if you have any other questions regarding divorce, please feel free to contact Larry to discuss the unique details of your case.

How Does a Divorce Case Begin? 

Not every case begins the same. If your spouse has already filed for divorce, you already have a case and do not need to file. But if you are filing for divorce and your spouse hasn’t already filed, your attorney will file a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage to begin your case. This Petition lays out the basic foundation of your case. It contains:

  • Information about your marriage (date, location, etc.)
  • Information about your children
  • Grounds for divorce (i.e. irreconcilable differences)

If you are filing for divorce, your attorney will draft this Petition and file it in the county where you’re getting divorced (i.e. the county where you live). This will officially create a divorce “case” and you will receive an initial status date where your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will appear before the judge. Typically, status dates are one month after the date of filing.

If you’re hiring an attorney and your spouse has already done so and filed a Petition, your attorney will answer the Petition. This means drafting a document and either agreeing with each paragraph of the Petition or raising concerns about whether or not the information is accurate.

What Happens Next?

For lack of a better term, the “middle” portion of a divorce is never the same from case to case. However, there are some rough similarities that can still give you a better idea of what to expect.

During this time in the divorce, your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will negotiate on all of the key issues in your case from parenting time to property division and more. This is when the attorneys will draft key documents such as the Allocation of Parental Responsibility Judgment, which contains all of the information you and your spouse agree to with regard to raising your children. The court’s main concern is always with children and these issues tend to take center stage at this phase of the divorce.

This part of your divorce will also be focused on negotiating a Marital Settlement Agreement. Your Marital Settlement Agreement resolves all non-children related issues. As you can imagine, it’s primarily focused on property division.

We settle the majority of cases in our office. This means we are able to negotiate on your behalf and arrange an acceptable agreement so you and your spouse do not have to go to trial. Trials are extremely expensive and take the negotiating power out of your hands. Here is a simple comparison of the processes:

  • Settlement – We negotiate with your spouse’s attorney on all issues to draft all necessary documents for the divorce. We then schedule a prove up date for you to get divorced. Negotiating power and power over the final outcome of your case remains with you.
  • Trial – We are unable to compromise with your spouse’s attorney (often because spouses aren’t willing to compromise) and we must go to a one- or two-day trial to present issues to the judge. The judge will decide the final outcome to your case.

If you go to trial, you have no power over the final outcome of your case. As such, it’s typically in your best interest to compromise with your spouse where you feel you can do so.

The Prove Up Date

The prove up date is a fancy way of saying your divorce date. On this day, your attorney, your spouse, your spouse’s attorney, and you will all appear before your judge. At the bench, you’ll be sworn in by the judge’s clerk and be questioned by your attorney regarding what is in the Marital Settlement Agreement and final Judgment For Dissolution Of Marriage. These are incredibly straightforward appearances and your attorney will prepare you well so there is nothing to be concerned about.

After the judge has heard from both attorneys and spouses, he or she will officially divorce you. After this day, you are divorced and can obtain certified copies to prove this from the clerk.

What Happens After the Divorce?

There will be work that needs to be completed once your divorce is finished. For example, as children reach the age of 18, child support will decrease. If your spouse gets a lower paying job or higher paying job, spousal and child support will change accordingly.

As such, there will be post-divorce modifications you’ll need to make and your Naperville divorce attorney can assist with that as well.

Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. With Any Questions You Have 

If you’re still confused about any part of the divorce process or would like to discuss your case with Larry, contact him for your free 30-minute consultation at 630-470-9990. If you would prefer to set up a time online for a call or to come in in-person for your consultation, please feel free to fill out our online form as well.

We look forward to speaking with you and helping you in any way we can during your divorce.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.