Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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Is unfamiliar divorce terminology overwhelming you?

Ending a marriage is never easy, and for anybody in Illinois going through this challenging process for the first time, the proceedings can be daunting. Gaining knowledge of the different terms and the legal language used during a divorce might limit the confusion somewhat. First in the terminology list is the Petition for Dissolution, which is the court filing. The chosen type of divorce will determine whether this filing occurs at the beginning or closer to the end of the process.

The petitioner is the party who files for divorce, and the other spouse is the respondent. The discovery process takes place when the respective legal counsels must determine all information related to assets and debts that will form part of the property division process. Marital property includes assets that were commingled and accumulated during the marriage while non-marital property includes assets the spouses owned individually before the wedding and anything specified to be separate in a marriage or settlement agreement.

Spouses who can no longer communicate may choose a litigated divorce in which their attorneys navigate negotiations and a divorce court judge makes the decisions. Mediation can save time and money when a divorce mediator facilitates negotiations and guides the spouses toward mutual agreements. A collaborative divorce is similar, involving both spouses, their attorneys and a team of professional advisers to ensure the interests of both parties are protected. During mediation and collaboration, the couple will work to settle all issues related to child custody, parenting plans and property division.

When all matters have been addressed, and both parties are satisfied, their attorneys can draft a settlement agreement to present to the court for approval, along with a proposed parenting plan. If the divorce court approves, those agreements will become the legally binding divorce decree. However, the prospect may seem overwhelming, and for that reason, the best possible way to navigate the legalities during this tough time is with the support and guidance of an experienced Illinois divorce attorney.

Source:, "Divorce 101: Understanding the "Language" of Divorce", Accessed on Feb. 23, 2018

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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