Family Law

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WHAT IS AN ANNULMENT?
Illinois law calls annulment a “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” It is a court order that says that a marriage is not valid, and should not be recognized by the state. An annulment is different from a divorce. A divorce says that a valid marriage is over.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DIVORCE AND A LEGAL SEPARATION?
A divorce means the marriage is legally over, and ex-spouses are free to marry others. The court can determine a Parenting Plan,  child support, spousal maintenance, and divide property.

A legal separation means the marriage is not legally over. Spouses are still married and cannot remarry. However, the court can determine a Parenting Plan, child support and spousal maintenance. The court cannot divide property unless you and your spouse agree ask the court to divide property.

If you don’t think you can live with your spouse, you can file for legal separation. You can still get a divorce later.

HOW LONG DOES A DIVORCE TAKE?
An agreement will speed things up, but how fast a divorce goes depends on your local court schedule. With an agreement it is possible to go from filing to judgment in a day or two, but usually the fastest would be about two weeks.

An agreement can speed up a divorce by eliminating the need to deliver (called “service”) a copy of the divorce Petition on the other spouse and by eliminating the 30 day wait after service that is required before going to court. Without an agreement the sheriff must serve the divorce Petition on the other spouse, and you must then give them 30 days to file a written response. Only after that 30 days is up can you schedule a court date.

But, the other spouse can sign an Entry of Appearance that waives or avoids being served with a Summons and which consents to letting the divorce case proceed against them. The other spouse can also waive the 30 day wait between receiving the Petition and a court date.

With an Entry of Appearance, how fast your divorce goes depends on how fast your Circuit Clerk can schedule a court date on your divorce Petition. You should be able to get a court date within about two weeks of filing for divorce–possibly even sooner.

PARENTING PLAN
Under the new Illinois law, custody and visitation are done away with and replaced by Parenting Plan.

The Plan spells out who has the children and when and who makes the decision concerning their religion, education and medical care.
It also spells out the rules that the parents will follow.