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b2ap3_thumbnail_court-gavel-judge-jurisdiction.jpgThe application and enforcement of the law can be very complex in many situations. This can be especially true in cases related to allocated parental responsibilities—formerly child custody—and parenting time, or visitation. One of the fundamental principles of law is the concept of jurisdiction, which refers to the authority that a particular county, state, or federal court system maintains over the parties and the subject matter of the case in question. Only a court with appropriate jurisdiction can make decisions and enter orders in accordance with applicable statutes.

In some situations, jurisdiction may be fairly straightforward. For example, if you live in DuPage County, and were injured in an accident near your home caused by another resident of DuPage County, you probably realize that the DuPage County circuit court has jurisdiction over your case, and your claim should be made there. In other cases, however, jurisdiction may not seem quite so clear, at least to the average citizen. One such example can be found in the area of family law. If your parenting plan and parental responsibilities orders were entered in Illinois, and you decide to move out of state, which state has continuing jurisdiction over your family’s case?  Fortunately, there are laws in place to address this exact scenario.

Relocation and Substantial Change in Circumstances

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Lombard family law attorneysDivorce is extremely common, and sometimes, it can come at an inopportune time. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of military families, when essentially, there is no “good” time unless the person with a military career is essentially retired. To help military couples obtain a divorce in an amicable fashion without having to wait years, there are certain specific divorce laws that apply only to them.

Service and Timing Issues

The main issues in trying to obtain a divorce from an active duty military member are personal service and the possibility of default. A divorce can be filed in Illinois if one or both spouses either live in state permanently, or if one or both spouses are stationed in the state. However, in any contested divorce, the non-moving party must be served personally with a copy of the petition filed by their spouse. Otherwise the court, in theory, has no jurisdiction over them. In other words, without personal service, the military member would not have enough contact with the place where the court is for that court to have any power over him or her. If the divorce is not contested, personal service may be waived, but if it is contested, the rule is absolute.  This means that the personal service requirement can make going forward with the divorce very difficult if the military member is overseas or in a war zone.

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venue, Illinois divorce attorneysWhile the process of divorce can be quite complicated and, at times, overwhelming, filing the petition for divorce is relatively simple. With the help of an attorney, it is often even easier, but you will still need to decide where to file your petition so that the divorce proceedings will be held in the appropriate venue.

Where to File

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), proceedings for divorce should take place in the county where either you or your spouse currently reside. However, you are free to file your petition in any county of your choosing. If you decide to pursue a divorce in a county other than your county of residence or that of your spouse, you will need to file a motion with your petition explaining why you chose an alternate location. For example, if, following your separation, your spouse moved to DeKalb County while you continued living in DuPage County, but you both work in Kane County, it might be reasonable for your divorce proceedings to be held in Kane County.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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