Although lawmakers have taken steps to simplify the divorce process in Illinois over the last few years, legally dissolving a marriage can still be difficult. This is largely due to the fact that couples must not only comply with a host of complicated procedural rules but also need to grapple with a number of divorce-related issues, such as how marital assets will be divided. To ensure that your own divorce is not unduly delayed due to a failure to comply with these rules, please contact one of our dedicated Frankfort divorce lawyers for advice.
Before 2016, Illinois couples who wanted to dissolve their marriages were required to demonstrate that one of the spouses was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Fortunately, Illinois has since adopted a no-fault approach to divorce. As a result, couples now only need to attest that irreconcilable differences have caused their marriage to become irretrievably broken, and that efforts have reconciliation have failed, or that future attempts would not be in the couple’s best interests. Generally, if a couple can prove that they have lived separate and apart for at least six months, courts will automatically presume that irreconcilable differences exist, and grant the divorce.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that divorcing couples must divide all marital asset, or assets that were acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage, fairly.. The only exceptions to this rule apply to inheritances and gifts that were given to one of the spouses during the marriage. These assets, like all other assets purchased or acquired before marriage, will remain the separate property of the original owner, and do not need to be divided.
Besides deciding how the property will be divided upon the dissolution of their marriage, divorcing couples must also determine whether one party should receive spousal maintenance from the other. When deciding whether an award of alimony is appropriate, courts will assess the following factors:
If on the other hand, a couple entered into a premarital or post-nuptial agreement, in which they agreed on a certain amount for a spousal maintenance award, courts will not usually need to assess these factors unless they find that the agreement is deemed to be the result of fraud or duress.
Couples who have children and who are unable to come up with a parenting plan out-of-court will need to go to court where a judge will divide parenting time and responsibility for parental decision making based on what would be in the child’s best interests. While most courts presume that a parenting plan which reflects equal time sharing and responsibility for decision making satisfies this burden, this is not always the case, making it especially important for divorcing couples with children to speak with an experienced attorney before filing for divorce.
To speak with one of the dedicated Frankfort divorce lawyers at Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. about your own pending divorce, please call our office or visit our website today.