Not all marriages last forever. Sometimes, a couple grows apart over the years and in other cases, their relationship is dramatically, irreparably damaged by a sudden change in circumstances or development of an issue like infidelity or substance abuse. When a marriage cannot be salvaged, the couple can end it through divorce.
Divorce is the legal dismantling of a marriage. Through the divorce process, the court ensures that both parties’ rights and interests are served according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Couples who feel they can develop their own divorce settlement without court input can opt for an uncontested divorce, an option that provides a quicker path out of an unhealthy marriage.
No matter how few marital assets a couple has, their assets must be divided in their divorce. The court divides a couple’s assets according to the doctrine of equitable distribution, which means they are divided according to each partner’s needs, rather than an equal division.
If the couple has children, the court will also develop a parenting plan for them and create a child support order. A parenting plan has two components: parenting time and parental responsibilities. The court determines an appropriate parenting time schedule and breakdown of parental responsibilities based on what it determines to be in the child’s best interest. To make this determination, the court considers a variety of factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, any history of abuse in either parent’s household, the child’s personal and academic needs, and each parent’s financial capability to provide for the children. Child support is determined according to a formula which incorporates each parent’s income with their share of the child(ren’s) parenting time.
A divorce settlement could also include a spousal maintenance order. This is the money one spouse pays to the other to lessen the financial impact of the divorce. Sometimes, it is paid permanently and in other cases, it lasts for a specific period of time, during which the recipient is expected to become financially self-sufficient.
Before you file for divorce in Illinois, keep the following in mind:
When you know it is time to end your marriage, be sure to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can provide the legal support you need through each stage of the process. To start working with a member of Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd., contact our firm to schedule your free consultation with us.
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