When a marriage is no longer happy, stable, or healthy, it is time for the couple to end it. Filing for divorce is not a personal failure; it is an opportunity to end a marriage that no longer serves the people living in it. This includes the couple’s children. Although some couples put off filing for divorce until their children are adults or stay in unhappy marriages because they think their children would be better off with married parents, it is actually far better for children to grow up with divorced, but healthy and stable parents, rather than married parents who fight regularly.
Before you set up your consultation with a divorce lawyer, take some time to learn about the divorce process.
You cannot file for divorce in Illinois unless you or your spouse have lived in the state for at least 90 days. If you have lived in Illinois for 90 days or longer, you can file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the circuit court of the county where you reside, or the county where your spouse currently lives.
In order for your divorce to be finalized, you and your spouse must have been living separate and apart for at least six months.
A divorce settlement can include one, two, or all of the following:
Every divorce involves a property distribution order. This is the division of the couple’s marital assets and debts according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. It may be supported by other orders, such as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to grant the spouse without a retirement account access to the funds within his or her partner’s account.
If the couple has minor children, a parenting plan and child support order will be part of their divorce settlement. A parenting plan is the order that states each parent’s responsibilities for the children and the time the children spend in each household. Child support is money paid by one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising their children, like the costs of school supplies and additional groceries.
If one partner worked part time or not at all during the marriage to devote him- or herself to the couple’s home and children, a spousal maintenance order for that partner may also be part of the couple’s divorce settlement. Spousal maintenance may be paid permanently or temporarily, depending on the length of the couple’s marriage and the receiving partner’s economic circumstances.
If you are considering ending your marriage, work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need through each step of the process. Contact Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. today to set up your free consultation in our office.