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Filing for divorce in Illinois' largest county

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Once a married couple begins to experience trouble, they often go through a variety of emotions and options. Therapy is an option, as well as changing routines to see if balance and harmony return to the relationship. If these and other efforts fail, the only remaining option may be divorce.

Divorce is often a very difficult process, involving strong emotions and the procedures and disclosures of a legal process. Illinois allows divorce for a variety of reasons, so ending a marriage in the state is not a very difficult process. But it has to be done right.

In Cook County, home to the Land of Lincoln's largest and most populous city, the procedure is similar in form to other jurisdictions in the state. A group of documents lay out the cause for divorce, as well as the proper legal documents for dissolving the marriage, must be delivered to the county clerk of court or a municipal district courthouse.

The clerk's office will provide plaintiffs (the spouse filing for divorce) with a case number after filing the proper paperwork and will assign a judge to the case. The clerk will also issue the summons, which is the legal requirement for the other spouse to answer the petition.

The type of summons service may affect the type of relief that plaintiffs request from the court. If personal service is in doubt, it is strongly recommended that spouses seek legal representation and advice to find out the legal ramifications of service by publication or other forms of service.

Source: Circuit Court of Cook County, "Filing and Answering a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Civil Union," accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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