How Do I Get a Divorce in Illinois?
Going through a divorce is an unpleasant and challenging time. You must deal with custody agreements, property division, and emotional pain. If spouses cannot agree on these issues, they might have to go to court.
Swietkowski & Swietkowski – family law attorney, recommends that you try reconciliation before filing for divorce. The judge might request you to go through a period of separation and prove grounds of irreconcilable differences before granting a divorce.
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Steps to Get a Divorce in Illinois
Most divorce cases go through lengthy negotiations and mediation to avoid going to an expensive trial. If reconciliation isn’t possible, consider contacting a divorce attorney to help you out. Here is what you should consider if you want to get a divorce in Illinois:
Grounds for Divorce
The first thing you should do to start your divorce process is to file a divorce petition. There is no waiting period in Illinois to file for a petition, but you will have to pay a fee. The spouses must separate for six months during the marriage breakdown, either in different households or in the same one.
A judge will grant a divorce after both spouses prove that they have irreconcilable differences, all reconciliation efforts have failed, and any future attempts at reconciliation are not in the family’s best interest. Despite the disagreements between the spouses, most couples do not go to trial because of the high expenses it requires. The tense situations are usually resolved through negotiation and advice from a lawyer and judge.
Division of Property Assets
Real estate, furniture, cars, bank accounts, stock, and pension plans are all marital property. Any assets purchased or acquired during the marriage will be divided between the spouses regardless of whose name is on the title, except for gifts, inheritance, or expressly excluded assets by a premarital agreement. This includes mortgages, credit card balances, medical bills, and more.
In Illinois, the marital property division is equitable, which might not be equal in specific cases. To determine equitability, the court will consider the following:
- If one of the spouses used marital income for purposes unrelated to the marriage
- The duration of your marriage
- The allowance provided for the children of the marriage
These factors will be used to determine both equitable property and debt distribution.
Child Custody Agreements
Agreeing on child custody can be a painful experience. Dividing the time you spend with your children is a difficult moment. However, when you are going through a divorce in Illinois, the judge will look for your child’s best interests when making a decision. Illinois Law enforced a law (750 ILCS 5/602.5) that involves the allocation of decision-making concerning the children and a parenting schedule. The spouses will have to submit a proposed parenting plan. The judge will decide which parent can make decisions regarding education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious matters.
By Illinois state law, both parents are responsible for supporting the children. The judge considers both spouses’ income and determines the child support based on an “income shares” model. The Department of Healthcare and Family provides charts used when establishing the amount each parent has to pay. Going through a divorce will be difficult, and you might need additional help to handle your situation. Hiring a lawyer can help you during this time while you recover emotionally and get used to your new circumstances. An Illinois divorce attorney can also prevent you from making costly mistakes during your divorce process.