The Divorce Process

Family Law
The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process in Illinois

1. Strategy Session

The first step of any divorce case is to have a strategy session with our legal team. We will learn about your marriage, children, and other aspects of your family. We work to identify the issues that might arise in your divorce, as well as your divorce options. We will then set clear objectives for the outcome of your case and develop a strategy for how to best achieve those objectives.

2. Commencing a Divorce or Custody Case

Once you decide to move forward with a divorce or custody case, we will make sure you meet the requirements to do so, such as residency requirements. If so, our team will gather the necessary information and prepare the proper paperwork. Specifically, we will draft a petition that reflects your circumstances and goals, and then file it with the appropriate court.

3. Initial Conference

Your first hearing before a judge will likely be scheduled for a few weeks following your petition filing. The hearing should involve you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys, and will address any temporary issues while the divorce is pending, such as child custody or support, as well as identify which issues still need to be resolved.

4. Discovery & Research

Each side of a divorce case must provide complete and accurate information to the other, so you can base your negotiations on all relevant information. Discovery methods can include informal requests as well as formal depositions or interrogatories. Some complicated cases might include appraisals, psychological evaluations, and more.

5. Temporary Relief Hearing

If you have shared children, the court might issue temporary orders regarding support and custody schedules. If one spouse does not have the ability to earn a sufficient living right away, the court might order temporary spousal support. Our lawyers will make sure you have the temporary relief you need.

6. Mediation or Early Neutral Evaluation

Before you take a disputed matter to court, you and your spouse can participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation or early neutral evaluation. These methods can help facilitate discussion and compromise between spouses to prevent the need for trial whenever possible.

7. Pretrial Hearing

If ADR and negotiations continue to be unsuccessful, there can be a pretrial hearing in court. The judge will identify which issues will be addressed at trial, as well as guidelines for trial, including for timelines, evidence, and witnesses.

8. Final Trial

If you still have contested issues, your case will proceed to trial before the judge. Our legal team will carefully prepare for trial, so we can present the strongest possible arguments in favor of your desired resolution. You want an experienced litigator on your side should your case go to trial.

9. Implementation

The court will issue a final divorce decree, whether it is based on your agreements with your spouse or the judge’s findings at trial. The decree will require you to properly divide your property, change names on titles, update your financial accounts, begin your custody plan, and more. Our firm will help ensure the court’s orders are properly and fairly implemented.

10. Checkout Session

Once the legal case is settled, we will meet another time to ensure there are no additional questions from you or loose ends to tie up. We can also discuss possible legal issues that might arise down the road, such as the need for modifications of the decree, and how we can help. We can close your current case, and you can move forward with your life post-divorce.



Whether you’re dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, a civil rights violation, or a personal injury case, you and your family’s best interests are our top priority. Ms. Danielle A. Pinkston of Pinkston Law Group utilizes her extensive legal knowledge to resolve your case, no matter how complex it may be. We share your goals and work closely with you, delivering the exceptional services you need.

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