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Filing a Counter Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Divorce Cases

Posted by Peter on March 19, 2009
litigation

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I encountered the first instance in my entire career where a client would have been better off having filed a Counter Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, where his spouse initially filed for divorce. I used to think that the filing of Counter Petitions in the divorce setting was one of the bigger wastes of time going and just a bill padding technique used by certain firms. And oftentimes it is, but particularly in Cook County this can be a smart move.

Why?

Because a divorce case can be dismissed just like the $2,000 collection case and if you’ve gotten a lot of favorable rulings or if you have a judge who you think “likes” your case you probably don’t want to enable the other spouse to just dismiss the case and start-over in a different courthouse with a different judge who may NOT like your case quite as much. And this is pretty readily done in Cook County, you can file in one of the suburban courthouses and then dismiss and file at Daley. Or, you could likely dismiss your Daley case and re-file at Daley with little risk that you’d get stuck with the same judge. In less populated counties this likely isn’t as much of an issue because if you dismiss you’d probably be re-filing before the same judge regardless.

For example, I observed a situation (was involved in the case post-decree) where case is filed in suburban Cook and proceeds for some 6 months up to a pre-trial conference with judge who gives very favorable recommendation to W. But H was petitioner in case so he just dismisses the case and re-files a month later down at Daley. Well, the Daley case proceeds to trial and H gets a great result. Now W doesn’t feel too great…and this feeling could likely have been avoided if a Counter Petition had been filed.

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