The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the opening volley in every divorce case. In some instances, people know it is coming; in others, they are completely blind-sided. Either way, you may not know what your next move should be.
You can always talk to your spouse about reconsidering if they are willing to listen. When a Petition for Dissolution is filed, under Illinois law, you have 30 days to file a written response to the petition, and either file your own appearance in the case or have an attorney file their appearance as your counsel. Doing nothing could ultimately result in you being defaulted from the case and allow your spouse to obtain the divorce completely on their terms. Missing this deadline by a few days will probably not cause irreparable harm to your case, but there is no reason to delay. Begin interviewing attorneys who specialize in family or matrimonial law. And even if you like the first one, make sure you interview multiple attorneys. You may find someone you like better or someone who makes you think about the process in a different way.
Janet E. Boyle is a partner at Boyle Feinberg Sharma in Illinois.