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My first court date is 2 weeks from now. Divorce petition. I am a respondent.

Naperville, IL |

Can I request the Judge/Court for continuance before the court date or on the first court date? Do I have to inform my spouse's attorney in advance? I am doing it Pro-Se. Can I request for 2 months? 4 month? Reasons will be saving money for counsel, gathering asset paper work.

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Attorney answers 8


yes you may request a continuance. we cannot tell you if it will be granted.

many attorneys offer free initial consultations. go have some. get some real information about your case. do not post details on the web.


Show up in court and a new date will be set along with other requirements.

You really should hire an attorney.


explain to the court that you want to retain counsel. Frankly the court will not delay the case for you to save up money so do not even say that. You will probably get the standard status date of 30-45 days. Maybe 60.

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You will likely get about 30-45 days. However, the court will want to see a specific and detailed reason why it should believe that in 2-4 months you will have the money. “I will save” is just too generic—question will be WHY you will be able to save money in the coming months, whereas you were not in the past.
The really interesting question is if your husband has an attorney. If so, under Illinois law, you should have one as well.
You are legally entitled to matching fees--so the petition would request an award of fees from Husband [this is an “interim fee petition”]
If, on the other hand, he will allege being broke [often because he gave his remaining liquid funds to his lawyer], the court can order Husband’s attorney to return 50% of the monies received [sometimes more]--this is called "disgorgement".

The author provides the preceding information as a service to the public. Author's response, as stated above, should not be considered legal advice. An initial attorney-client conference, based upon review of all relevant facts/documents, will be necessary to provide legal advice upon which the client should then rely.


A brief continuance will most likely be granted. 2-4 months is not brief and will probably be denied. Saving for a lawyer is not an acceptable reason for such a delay. Although you are pro se, you might be able to hire counsel and seek prospective fees from your husband. Look into that as a way to get legal representation. There are many good lawyers in your neck of the woods.


The court will probably grant you a reasonable amount of time to retain counsel, maybe 30 - 45 days, so show up to court and explain to the Judge that you need some additional time to retain counsel.

If your spouse has the funds to retain an attorney, then speak with an attorney regarding "leveling the playing field."


First you may be making a huge mistake by proceeding pro se. While I understand that you may not think you have enough money to consult with Counsel there are lawyers including me from the Dailey Law Firm, PC who will meet with you for a free legal consultation. I can also assist you in drafting a response to the petition for dissolution of marriage so you can avoid asking for the continuance. I do not recommend that try to do the answer without my help. I would highly recommend that you seek Counsel to at least advise you without entering an appearance.

As for the question you asked, it is likely the Court will give you some time but not a lot. I would also recommend that you send a note to opposing Counsel to advise what you are doing and ask for his thoughts/agreement. Do not try to talk with opposing Counsel. You cannot benefit in any manner by speaking with him since you do not know what information you give him will come back to haunt you.

You will have to go to the first hearing and ask for the continuance in person.


The old saying is that "he who represents himself has a fool for a client". There is some truth to the saying. You need an outside party who will be able to effectively and with an unbiased outside understanding of the case give you guidance and advice. It is cheaper to do it right from the beginning than to try to fix mistakes later. As for the continuance, there is no way the judge will kick your case 4 months. Best of luck...