What Do I Need to Include in My Divorce Petition?

What Do I Need to Include in My Divorce Petition?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Filing for divorce can be a complicated process. You may be unsure about the steps you need to take and you may not have a clear understanding of what types of materials you need to gather in advance of the divorce proceeding. Given that each person who files for divorce will have their own set of circumstances, no single petition for the dissolution of marriage will look exactly alike. At the same time, every petition for divorce will need to provide certain types of information. Information contained in a divorce petition is outlined by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

We will provide you with more information about what you need to include in your divorce petition, but it is always important to have a Chicago divorce lawyer on your side to ensure your case moves forward as smoothly as possible.

Elements of a Divorce Petition Under the IMDMA

The IMDMA says that, at the very least, every petition for the dissolution of marriage must contain the following:

  • Age, occupation, and residence of each party (each of the spouses);
  • Length of each party’s residence in the state of Illinois;
  • Date of the marriage;
  • Place where the marriage was registered;
  • Whether a petition for the dissolution of marriage is pending in any other county or state;
  • Acknowledgment that the residency requirements for a divorce under Illinois law have been met;
  • Statement that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (which must be shown for an Illinois divorce);
  • Names, ages, and addresses of all living children from the marriage, including adult children;
  • Whether or not one of the spouses is currently pregnant;
  • Any arrangements concerning spousal or child support;
  • Details concerning existing arrangements for the allocation of parental responsibilities; and
  • Relief parties are seeking.

To be clear, Illinois is a “no fault” state for divorce purposes. As such, no petition for divorce in the state should allege any fault-based grounds for divorce.

Process for Divorce Beyond the Initial Filing of the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage

Filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage is only the first step in the legal process of divorce in Illinois. When you go through a divorce, you also will need to go through the process of property division, determining spousal maintenance (if one of the parties is seeking it), child support and the allocation of parental responsibilities – if there are minor children from the marriage.

These processes will require additional documentation, and more forms and paperwork must be completed. For example, in property division, spouses will need to account for all existing separate and marital property for the court to determine how the property will be divided. If one of the spouses is seeking spousal maintenance, that party will need to make clear he/she is seeking support. The court will not determine if spousal maintenance is even appropriate unless one of the spouses requests it.

You should be getting a variety of materials ready for your divorce beyond those specifically tied to property division and spousal maintenance, such as tax returns, investment and bank statements, and other financial documents.

Contact a Chicago area Divorce Attorney

Filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage is the first official step in moving forward with your divorce, and a divorce attorney in Chicago at our firm can help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about how we can assist you.