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How Is Jurisdiction Decided In An Illinois Divorce?

Illinois may not have jurisdiction over your divorce case. If it does, the case can be filed in the county where you and your spouse live.

What Is Jurisdiction In A Divorce Case?

Jurisdiction refers to the threshold issues that have to be decided by the court before the merits of the case can be determined. Illinois courts have the right to decide a case only if it is filed in the state. So if you have lived in the state all your life, you cannot file for divorce from Alabama just because you prefer their divorce laws.

In some cases, multiple states can share jurisdiction over a divorce case. When this happens, you can choose the state which will control your divorce case unless the court determines that doing so will be highly inconvenient.

Types of Jurisdictions

Two types of jurisdictions can come into play for an Illinois divorce case:

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Your divorce attorney will determine whether your case may be presented before a specific court. This is called subject matter jurisdiction. For example, some cases involving children must be resolved outside of family court, out of it, or inside. One of the most common examples of a divorce case that does not involve children is when a criminal court arbitrates a criminal charge.

Large Illinois counties have whole divisions staffed with several judges and clerks who focus on paternity and divorce case. In smaller counties, on the other hand, a single judge may handle divorce, family, and even criminal laws. However, all child support issues must be presented in the administrative system irrespective of the county. This system is separate from the one used in family court.

The choices can become quite confusing, but the wrong one can prove fatal for your divorce case. If a court doesn’t have subject matter jurisdiction, it doesn’t have the authority to do anything.

Personal Jurisdiction

This jurisdiction refers to the authority that a court has over a person. For instance, if you have never been to Illinois or Alaskan courts, they cannot decide anything for you. Similarly, if you landed in another state’s airport because your flight was delayed, you cannot get a divorce during that time. Ask your divorce lawyer to determine which laws apply to your divorce case beforehand.

Illinois Jurisdiction Over Divorce Cases

Illinois courts have the jurisdiction to decide a divorce case if either of the spouses lived in the state for 90 days. Couples can also file for divorce after and before moving to the state. In such cases, the court can give temporary orders, but it will not have jurisdiction to enter a final one till both partners live in the state for 90 days at least. If the state has jurisdiction, the case can be filed in any of the counties where the parties reside.

A contentious divorce case can get quite complex if you don’t have an experienced and reliable divorce attorney in your corner.

Contact Dan Walker Law Office for a Consultation Today!

Whether you are looking for a reliable divorce attorney in Hinsdale or need a confidential consultation regarding a complex case, contact the Dan Walker Law Office today! Dan is a licensed lawyer with almost 50 years of experience delivering knowledgeable and efficient legal services to clients from all walks of life. He will listen closely to your case details before developing a custom strategy that can work for you. Contact him for a consultation today!

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