Ask any lawyer, divorce is one of the most emotionally charged areas of the law. The pain and grief a person experiences during the divorce process rivals that of a death in the family. It is, after all, a death of sorts. It is the death of a once vibrant and happy union between two individuals. However, in addition to this process being emotionally painful, it sets the course for a new life for each spouse.
Therefore, it is vital that you have a divorce lawyer who can assist you in working through all the legal issues in a rational, cohesive manner to allow you to move forward during a very difficult time. Since you will share a great deal of personal information with a divorce attorney, you should select someone with whom you are comfortable and can trust his or her judgment and assistance he or she will provide.
Beginning in 2016, Illinois became a no-fault state when it comes to divorcing your spouse. Alleging things like infidelity or mental cruelty is no longer needed. There is only a single ground for dissolving a marriage: irreconcilable differences. “Irreconcilable differences” are defined as having caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed or future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interest of the family.”
You must participate in proceedings through the divorce court. In Illinois, a judge, not a jury, hears these court proceedings. The divorce court proceedings generally proceed as follows:
One party to the marriage may begin the legal process for the dissolution of marriage by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The person filing the initial petition is referred to as the "Petitioner". The party responding to the proceedings is referred to as the "Respondent" (discussed below).
Once the petition is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the appropriate County, the Petition and a Summons will be served upon the respondent by a sheriff or a private process server.
Once served, the Respondent has 30 days to file an Appearance and written Response. If the Respondent fails to file a Response in this time, the Petitioner may request the Court to hold the Respondent in default to proceed with the divorce.
If either party requires that formal Restraining Orders or Injunctions be placed against the other party, either party may file pleadings with the Court to request protection for themselves, dependent children or marital property.
The next step in the process is referred to as "discovery". This is the formal investigation the parties participate in to assist in disclosing all financial documentation relating to the parties' assets and debts. Assets and debts of the parties need to be classified as "marital property" or "nonmarital" property. Assets and debts accumulated by the parties during their marriage may be classified as "marital property" unless it is:
- Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, legacy or descent
- Property acquired by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation
- Property excluded from the tally of marital property by valid agreement of the parties
- Any judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse
- Property acquired before the marriage
- The increase in value of property acquired by a method listed above
- Income from the property acquired by a method listed above, if the income is not attributable to the personal effort of a spouse.
There may be exceptions to the above based upon the particular facts and circumstances of individual cases.
Some parties may choose to informally exchange information if they are conversant with their individual assets and debts. If either party is concerned about information being hidden from them or one party handled all the finances during a marriage, discovery is a tool to be used in gaining information about the parties' financial picture. During this process of gathering information, our firm can assist you in using the appropriate discovery tools to be sure all pertinent information is obtained.
Once all information has been exchanged so both parties' have a working knowledge of their financial picture, values have been obtained for various assets and debts, property is identified as marital and/or nonmarital, the parties can begin the process of discussing and negotiating a final settlement. It is during this process that our firm can assist you in making an informed decision about your present and future needs. As skilled negotiators experienced in the area of domestic relations cases, we can assist you in objectively assessing the areas most important to you in moving forward, to hopefully resolve issues in a practical, sensible manner, taking into consideration your desires and the needs of your family.
Many cases involve Child Custody/Visitation issues as well as financial assets and debts to work through during the negotiation process. Both of these areas can be very emotional for people and difficult to work through in a rational, sensible way. We strive to ensure your desires for your child's well being in custody/visitation matters receive attention. We also strive to ensure your receive a fair and equitable division of the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage.
We understand that the divorce process is not only an emotionally draining experience, but it can also be a financially draining experience. Our firm works hard to keep cases moving forward to completion, we are very conscious of the costs involved and do not proceed with unnecessary measures which will drive the costs of the case up. We proceed with care, input and authorization from you. If you and your spouse are unable to come to a mutually agreeable settlement, then the case may proceed to trial.
During a trial, we will help you present all the relevant facts and evidence to the judge to allow the judge to reach a fair and equitable result. Together, we will assist you in deciding how to proceed with the case, necessary witnesses, experts and documents, which support your position. We will assist you in compiling appropriate documentary evidence, including, if necessary, the use of investigators to acquire vital information. We work to ensure the Judge receives all relevant, pertinent and appropriate information, which is the basis of your case. Here is Why You Should Have A Divorce Attorney For Your Case.
For a free consultation with our Libertyville, Waukegan and Lake County Divorce Attorneys, call us at 847-599-9101 or email us.
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Our divorce attorneys serve clients throughout northeast Illinois including Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Gurnee, Grayslake, Lake County, and Waukegan.