If you’re considering a divorce in Chicago, IL, it’s essential to understand the divorce filing process and when the divorce filing information goes public. The information in our Johnson Law Group family law blog can help you make informed decisions about your divorce and protect your privacy. At any time, you can contact Johnson O’Keefe today for help with your divorce. We are experts in divorce filings and can help you protect your personal privacy throughout the divorce process.
How to File for Divorce in Chicago, IL
To file for divorce in Chicago, IL, you must first file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the County Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The petition must state the grounds for divorce and the relief you seek, such as child custody, child support, and alimony. Once you have filed the petition, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the petition and a summons. Service of process can be accomplished by a local sheriff, a private process server, or by certified mail. After your spouse has been served, they have 30 days to file an answer with the court. If your spouse does not file an answer, the court may enter a default judgment in your favor.
When Does the Divorce Filing Information Go Public?
Divorce filing information in Chicago, IL, is generally public record. This means that anyone can access the information, including your spouse, family, friends, and even the media. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the court may seal the divorce file if there is a risk of domestic violence or child abuse.
Three ways to file for divorce in Chicago, IL, without it going public:
- File a motion to seal the divorce file. This is a legal request to the court to keep the divorce file confidential. The court will only grant this motion if you can show that there is a risk of harm to you or your children if the file is made public.
- Use a mediator. A mediator is a neutral third party who can help spouses negotiate the terms of your divorce outside of court. If you reach an agreement through mediation, you can file a joint petition for divorce, which does not require any public hearings.
- File for a simplified dissolution of marriage. This is a type of divorce that is available to couples who meet certain requirements, such as having no minor children and no significant assets or debts. Note that a simplified dissolution of marriage can be filed without any public hearings.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Chicago, IL, it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your options and choose the best approach for your situation.
How to Protect Your Privacy During Divorce
If you are still concerned about your privacy during divorce, there are a few more things you can do:
- If you have to go to court, you can ask the judge to close the courtroom to the public. This is rare, but it may be granted if you can show that there is a compelling reason to keep your divorce private.
- Limit the information you include in the divorce petition and other court filings. Only include the absolutely necessary information.
- Be cautious about what you post on social media channels. Social media posts can be used in court against you.
It is important to note that even if you take steps to keep your divorce private, there is no guarantee that the information will not eventually become public. For example, if you have a contested divorce, your spouse may file motions or pleadings that contain confidential information. Additionally, if you have minor children, the court may order certain information about your divorce to be made public, such as the child custody and support arrangements.
Contact Johnson O’Keefe for Help with Your Divorce
If you’re considering a divorce in Chicago, IL, it’s important to understand the divorce filing process and when the divorce filing information goes public. Our Johnson O’Keefe Attorneys can help you make informed decisions about your divorce and protect your privacy. If you are considering filing for divorce in Chicago, IL, contact Johnson O’Keefe today. We are experts in divorce filings and can help you protect your individual privacy throughout the divorce process. Call Johnson O’Keefe today at (312) 319-4444 to schedule a complimentary consultation.