Skip to main content

Hello, I'm wondering what the process is in converting a legal separation to a dissolution of marriage.

Glen Carbon, IL |

Spouse has already been mailed the Motion paperwork that was filed with the court to convert legal separation into dissolution.

Are divorce papers then prepared by petitioner's attorney and served to spouse by a process server at this point....or are they just mailed like the Motion paperwork was?

At what point do the financial statements come into play and to whom does respondent spouse acting pro se turn statement?

Any other information that gives me an idea of the specific steps involved in this process is much appreciated! Thank you.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


If both parties have appeared in the original case, and both parties have attorneys, then the exchange will be fairly routine pursuant to the Order the court will give allowing the Petition for Legal Separation to be amended to be a Petition for Dissolution. This is all procedural and done by agreement between the attorneys. A Process Server is not needed under these facts.

There is a common misconception that occurs with some pro se litigants that a Legal Separation is a necessary first step that takes place before filing for divorce. This is incorrect, and in modern times Legal Separations are rare. The purpose of Legal Separation was for spouses who wanted to live separate and apart but for reasons (mostly of conscience) did not want to be divorced.

The faster the financial statements are exchanged, the faster the case will go. This too is often done by agreement, with both sides agreeing on a time frame--say, 30 days.

The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.


you cannot convert one to the other. if more than thirty days have elapsed since the judgment of legal separation was entered, that case is over. if you want a divorce, you must file a new case.


Your question is confusing. If you are asking whether a Petition for Legal Separation can be converted to a Petition for Dissolution, this can be done if the matter has not been finalized.
I don't know what divorce papers you are referring to so it is not possible to answer whether they can be mailed or if they must be served by process server. However, one thing is clear - You have an attorney and you should be asking this question of your attorney.

Exchange of financial information can be started 30 days after proper service, although some people start it before that time. A pro se party should tender discovery to opposing attorney.

Any other questions should be addressed to your lawyer.

Get Avvo’s 10-part divorce email series

A weekly guide with tips and legal advice for each stage of the process.

Divorce topics

Recommended articles about Divorce

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer