The decision to dissolve your marriage is one of the most complex decisions you can make, particularly when children are involved. Even under amicable circumstances, discussions of divorce can quickly become heated disagreements. As a result, it can be incredibly difficult to know how to proceed when your ex refuses to communicate or engage in productive negotiations. The terms of your divorce order will impact your life for years to come, so any contention surrounding property division, alimony, child custody, or child support must be handled carefully to ensure you and your ex can reach a mutually beneficial agreement. To do so, it is crucial that you seek legal representation from the very beginning of your case for the best results.
At Vahey Law & Mediation, our experienced team of Will County divorce attorneys can protect your rights, secure your interests, and help you establish a new life for yourself and your children without fear of financial instability. Our attorneys recognize that every family is unique. Thus, reaching the right divorce terms for your situation requires a creative, personalized approach that considers your individual concerns and goals.
We offer comprehensive, compassionate, and responsive family law services for divorcing couples throughout Illinois. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you achieve the optimal outcome for your family.
One of the most common questions posed by clients who wish to file for divorce is whether they need an attorney for the process. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law and the desire to avoid legal fees prevent many divorcing couples from seeking the legal representation they need during such a challenging time. It might seem easier, quicker, or cheaper to forego assistance from an attorney and attempt to negotiate your divorce terms on your own—particularly if you own minimal property and do not share children. However, even seemingly simple divorces can quickly escalate into contentious court battles, so this approach is rarely recommended.
Regardless of how much information you have about divorce laws in Illinois, you simply do not have the same knowledge, expertise, or resources as a skilled Will County divorce attorney. It is true that some couples can reach a fair agreement without legal help, but most divorce cases involve a wide range of sensitive issues that are impossible to navigate without an attorney. It is critical to approach your divorce with a clear focus and strict attention to detail when making decisions regarding the process. Even minor mistakes can leave you with a divorce order that fails to protect your interests. A one-sided divorce order can affect your life in many ways, such as unfairly distributing your property, failing to provide sufficient spousal support, or giving your ex disproportionate control over the future of your children.
Vahey & Betouni can work with you to determine your goals for the divorce, explore the options available for negotiation, and establish the terms of your divorce order. If you and your ex want to avoid expensive, time-consuming litigation, we offer private mediation services to help you negotiate a reasonable divorce agreement outside of the courtroom. In addition, we can help you through every stage of the divorce process, from gathering and filing your paperwork to properly addressing the complex legal issues that may arise. If your divorce is contentious or your ex refuses to cooperate, we can take your case to court to aggressively advocate on your behalf and achieve the best resolution for your family.
To be eligible for a dissolution of marriage in Illinois, you or your spouse must meet residency requirements by indicating that one of you has lived in the state for a minimum of 90 days. Either of you can file for divorce, and there is no legal advantage to being the first to file. If you have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days, but your spouse has not lived in Illinois or committed any type of act within the state that led them to come under jurisdiction of the state court, the court can grant your divorce. However, the court does not have the authority to order your spouse to transfer property, pay debts, or provide child support.
As the filing spouse (plaintiff), you must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the circuit court in the county where you reside. Your spouse (the respondent) has 30 days after being served with this petition to file an Answer to the Petition. If they fail to answer within the deadline, the court may simply rule in your favor and grant the terms of your petition. When the divorce involves minor children, the court can order both parents to participate in an educational program that explains how dissolving a marriage can impact the children. This program may be divided into multiple sessions, but you will both be expected to attend a total of four hours and pay for the cost of attendance.
Illinois divorce law operates on a no-fault standard, meaning you are not required to prove that your spouse did something wrong to dissolve your marriage. Instead, the law accepts “irreconcilable differences” as an all-encompassing term for any marriage that has become irreparable. You can request a divorce after you and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of two years, and the court will ask if you have made efforts at reconciliation during that time. The court must determine that these efforts have failed or that future attempts are impractical or otherwise not in the family’s best interest.
If you do not meet these requirements, there are certain fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois that you can claim in your petition, including:
In some cases, you may qualify for an Illinois Joint Simplified Dissolution Procedure, which is an alternative to a no-fault divorce that can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to obtain your divorce order. Eligibility for this streamlined procedure requires meeting each of the following conditions:
If you meet the criteria above, you can file the paperwork with the court to request a hearing. At this time, the court will make a judgment either granting or refusing the marriage dissolution. If you do not meet the criteria, you can explore mediation as a quicker and less expensive route to divorce than litigation. Without mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, you should expect a lengthy set of divorce proceedings in which you must make appearances at court hearings, offer testimony, and accept the final ruling of the judge.
If you are considering dissolving your marriage, you need dedicated, compassionate legal representation to protect your rights and the best interests of your children. The Will County divorce attorneys at Vahey Law & Mediation can be your most valuable assets when approaching divorce proceedings. We can help you negotiate during the mediation process or to take your case to trial if necessary. Regardless of how complicated or contentious your divorce may be, our team possesses the legal expertise necessary to fight for you and deliver a favorable outcome for your family.
Contact Vahey Law & Mediation today to schedule a consultation with our expert team. Our attorneys know that divorce is one of the most challenging and emotionally charged experiences you can face, and we are committed to developing the best strategy to accomplish your goals. At our firm, we offer the comprehensive legal representation and skilled counsel you need to achieve success in your case and secure your future. We are proud to provide our clients with empathetic, responsive services, trial-tested litigation skills, and fierce advocacy. When you hire our team, you can rest assured that we are always available to discuss your concerns and are prepared to fight diligently for the resolution you deserve.