Not all marriages last forever. When poor communication, infidelity, substance abuse, drastically different lifestyle desires and expectations, or external stresses push your marriage to the point that you no longer want to remain in it, divorce could be the right answer. Divorce is the legal process of dismantling a marriage and as such, it requires the couple to work with the court to create a divorce settlement according to the guidelines in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
The best way to prepare for your divorce is to educate yourself about the process. Every divorce is unique, but they all follow the same laws and involve similar components.
In Illinois, all divorces are no fault divorces. This means that the couple must only state that their marriage suffered from irreconcilable differences in order to be granted a divorce. Previously, couples could cite reasons for their divorces, but Illinois and other states have eliminated grounds for divorce.
Before a divorce can be finalized, the couple must have been living separately for at least six months. An individual cannot file for divorce in Illinois unless they, or their spouse has lived in Illinois for at least 90 days. When an individual files for divorce, he or she files the petition with the circuit court of the county where he or she or his or her spouse resides.
Your divorce settlement is the final document that outlines the terms of your divorce. You can work with your spouse to develop a divorce settlement on your own and submit it to the court or if this is not possible, the court can create your settlement by determining an appropriate breakdown of your marital debts, assets, and other needs following the divorce by applying the factors included in Illinois law to your case.
In any divorce, the couple’s assets and debts must be divided between the partners according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. This is not necessarily an equal split, but one the court deems to be fair based on the individuals’ needs.
If the couple has children, the court will also develop a parenting plan for the children and a child support order based on the couple’s income and parenting time split. When developing a parenting plan, the court considers a set of factors to determine the couple’s children’s best interest.
If one partner did not work during the marriage or worked part time to devote him- or herself to the couple’s home and children, that partner may also seek spousal maintenance.
When you know your marriage is over, work with a divorce lawyer who you feel is a good fit to handle your case. Everybody’s divorce and individual needs are unique, which is why a lawyer your friend or a relative recommends, might not be the right lawyer for you. Contact Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. today to set up your free consultation with us to see if we are the right team for you.
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