Call for a Free Consultation
Areas of Practice

The Law Office of Berry Tucker is proud to provide services in these areas:



Divorce & Family Law

Estate Planning / Wills & Trusts

Real Estate

Personal Injury

Elder Law

Medical Malpractice

Experienced Family and Divorce Lawyers in Oak Lawn, IL and Southwest Chicago Area

Not Just Legal Advice – A Partnership to Share Your Vision

The family divorce lawyers of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. has over 50 years of experience in a number of legal matters, including but not limited to: family law, divorce law, child custody, personal injury, real estate, bankruptcy, medical malpractice, and more in Oak Lawn, IL and the surrounding southwest Chicago area. Our private practice has allowed us to give clients the most undivided attention, applying years of experience and knowledge of current law to unique cases. At Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., you can expect complete attention, commitment, and assertion from our experienced family and divorce attorneys.

Divorce Law

When it comes to divorce law in Oak Lawn, IL, nobody knows this are of practice like our attorneys. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. takes divorce law matters very seriously, handling each case with care and attention to detail while asserting the needs and rights of our clients. Within our divorce law services, we handle all of the following: Pre- and post-nuptial agreements, alimony, child custody and support, domestic violence, visitation, division of property, and post-decree issues. With our experience and resources, we will ensure that your rights are heard to negotiate the solution that is most favorable to you.

Child Custody and Support

Many states will automatically favor joint custody for divorcing couples, and Illinois is one of them. This will quickly make the fight for time with your child stressful if an agreement can’t be made outside of the court. But the child custody and support lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. in Oak Lawn will ensure that your parental rights and responsibilities are heard, fighting for both your and their best interest.

Personal Injury Attorneys

As an established law firm in Oak Lawn, our personal injury attorneys have experience with a broad range of accident cases in the Southwest Chicago area. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. understands the pain and suffering as a result of other’s wrongdoing and/or negligence, which is why we will use an assertive approach to advocate your rights. Regardless of the type of injury you have suffered, our lawyers will commit themselves to get you the compensation you deserve.

Real Estate Lawyers

From first-time sellers and buyers to experienced property investors, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. in Oak Lawn can provide keen insight to both buying and selling real estate transactions. Our real estate attorneys focus on efficiency, communication, and diligence in order to attain the best solution for both the client and real estate agent. We are also currently offering a $195 special on typical single family sales transactions!

Bankruptcy Attorneys

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. can help you determine whether or not this is the right path for you. Our Oak Lawn bankruptcy attorneys have assisted clients who have been struggling with debt for a number of reasons, including divorce, hospital bills, credit cards, foreclosures, and more. We can help you climb out of this financial turmoil by educating and guiding you through the option that works best for you.

**Please note that the following is subject to withdrawal without notice; terms and conditions apply. Please talk to our office for a specific quote.


Berry K. Tucker & Associates Ltd.

Welcome to the law offices of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. How can we help?

Latest News

September 29, 2023Intestate is the term used by the court system to identify a person who has died without a valid will. The scenario is one in which the individual has “died intestate”. The living family members will want to know who will inherit the assets and how the estate will be distributed. Intestate Succession In intestate succession, state law allows for certain classes of family members to inherit the decedent’s estate. Each state has its own set of laws for intestate succession, which offers an organized and systematic way to distribute property. The class of heirs delineates who will receive what portion of the decedent’s estate. For example, in the case where a decedent leaves behind a spouse and four children, the estate will be divvied up, with half of the estate going to the spouse and the other half distributed to the children. If the decedent had no spouse but children only, the estate goes directly to the children. If the decedent leaves behind no spouse and no children, more distant relatives receive the share. Five classes of heirs exist when evaluating an intestate case: Parents The surviving spouse of the decedent Descendants, including children and grandchildren Siblings, nieces, nephews, and other descendants of the decedent’s parents Aunts and uncles (the descendants of grandparents) When none of the above survive at the time of the intestate succession, then the estate escheats to the state or county. Such situations where the state receives the entire estate rarely occur, as state laws are designed to ensure that even the most remote relatives receive the inheritance. Unmarried partners, friends and charitable organizations do not receive a decedent’s assets under intestate succession laws. It is important to note that certain properties cannot by law be passed by a will. These assets include the following: Property in a living trust Assets in a 401(k), IRA, or retirement plan with a named beneficiary Stocks, real estate, or vehicles held in a transfer on death (TOD) account or deed/title Proceeds from life insurance policies Assets held in joint tenancy, including bank accounts and real estate These types of property may only be passed on with documentation that establishes co-ownership or a beneficiary. Those Who Will Not Receive Assets All states have established laws that prevent a relative who behaved badly toward the deceased individual from inheriting any assets. For example, a kindred who committed a crime against the person who died, causing the individual’s death, will almost never receive anything from the decedent’s estate. Parents who failed to pay child support, committed crimes against the child, or abandoned the child do not profit from the deceased child’s assets. Children Children can have varying descriptors in the eyes of the courts. Foster children, for instance, do not typically inherit an estate from foster parents. Stepchildren who are not legally adopted by the deceased usually do not receive a portion of the inheritance. Legally adopted children have the right, according to state laws, to receive the estate just as would biological children. However, intestate succession laws do not give children adopted by an unrelated family the legal right to inherit the property of the biological parents nor the right for biological parents to inherit from the deceased child. In adoption cases where inheritance is in question, the state laws cut the legal tie between birth parents and their children. Spouses State laws give careful consideration about who qualifies as a spouse. Normally, a spouse is one who is legally married to the decedent at the time of death. Questions may arise as to the legal status of marriage, such as in the following scenarios: Pending divorces and legal separation blur the line between who qualifies as a spouse and who does not in the eyes of the law. If divorce proceedings are begun before an individual dies or if the couple is separated prior to one spouse dying, a judge will consider whether or not the surviving member is deemed a spouse. Differing states may or may not recognize common-law marriages. Some states do allow common-law marriages, in which a couple intends to get married, cohabits and presents themselves as would a married couple. Other Relatives Illinois has certain additional laws that affect intestate succession. “Half” relatives, such as a half-brother or half-sister, are entitled to a deceased parent’s inheritance just as would “whole” relatives. Relatives who are not citizens of the United States are entitled to an inheritance under Illinois intestate succession laws. Those who abuse, neglect, or exploit an elderly individual will not receive any portion of that person’s estate upon his or her death. Illinois laws also stipulate a survivorship time period of 120 hours. This means that in order to inherit, the individual must outlive the decedent by at least 120 hours. If two siblings are involved in a car accident, for example, and one sibling dies a few hours after the other, the survivorship law does not allow for the inheritance of property. Estate Planning Attorneys When you are in doubt about a family member’s transference of property when no will is found, consult the most trusted estate planning lawyers in Oak Lawn IL, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our lawyers are experienced in helping clients develop wills and trusts. Our estate attorneys not only assist you with creating and modifying a will but also with contesting wills. The Berry K. Tucker & Associates Ltd. team of lawyers also specializes in trusts as a part of estate planning. Clients will want to provide for the future of their family with the development of a trust. Examples of trusts on which we focus include charitable trusts, dynasty trusts, life insurance trusts, family trusts, living trusts, and special needs trusts, among others. Plan for your family’s future by consulting the skilled will and trust attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our lawyers are available for an immediate consultation at (708) 425-9530. [...]
September 11, 2023A marriage can be legally dissolved in as little as a few days after a marriage ceremony to as much as 15 years or more into a civil union. The two ways a legal union can be undone are through a divorce or annulment. While there are similarities such as both being recognized by judicial court systems, a divorce significantly differs from an annulment. Difference Between Divorce and Annulment The main difference between a divorce and an annulment is that divorce separates the two parties involved in a valid marriage while an annulment legally deems a marriage invalid. What is the short definition of divorce? A marriage is a legal, civil union. A divorce legally dissolves such a union. Once a divorce is settled, each newly single partner is free to enter into a legal union with another person. The ability to remarry someone else is not uncommonly sought after by divorcing spouses. What is the short definition of annulment? Like the tip of a pencil to paper, an annulment erases a marriage, declaring it null and void. Annulments go so far as to deem the union as never legally binding. Despite the marriage being legally declared as nonexistent, records of the original marriage remain in court file systems. What is the time limit to seek a divorce? Either spouse may file for divorce at any time, whether it is after 2 or 25 years of marriage. However, Illinois divorce laws have residency requirements; one divorcing spouse must live in the state for at least 90 days in order to legally file for a divorce. What is the time limit to seek an annulment? Unlike seeking a divorce, pursuing an annulment has a time limit. In Illinois courts, the time limit is determined by what grounds the married couple have for the annulment. If the spouses do not meet the designated time limits for the grounds they are seeking, the marriage becomes legally valid. What are the grounds for divorce in Illinois? Married couples must present to the courts a valid reason to dissolve their union. Illinois divorce laws accept both no-fault and fault-based grounds. Under Illinois law, situations where the spouses live apart for two years with no hopes for reconciliation are considered no-fault grounds. The fault-based grounds for divorce are many. When a partner is addicted to drugs, deserts the other spouse or commits domestic violence, divorce is a legal way out of harm’s way. Spouses who misrepresent themselves commit fraud, which is also legal grounds for divorce. When one spouse connives his way into the marriage despite being married to another person, bigamy is the outcome and is a valid reason for divorce. A divorce may also be sought when one partner is forced into the union through coercion or threats. Consuming alcohol or drugs destabilizes an individual, making him mentally incompetent to provide informed consent to legal events, like marriage. Similarly, mental illness can plague a person of the ability to make decisions. Both situations are grounds for divorce. What are the grounds for an annulment? Filing spouses should have reasonable grounds for an annulment. Several common grounds exist that drive married couples to seek an annulment. Each has a unique time limit within which couples seeking an annulment must adhere to in order to proceed and void their marriage. Like grounds for divorce, valid reasons for an annulment include the inability to provide informed consent. Different from divorce, however, is the 90-day time limit an annulment requires. Once the divorcing spouse is aware of the grounds, he has three months to file for an annulment in Illinois. While grounds for divorce include impotence, filing for an annulment based on these same grounds must be done within a certain period. Under Illinois law, a spouse may seek an annulment after one year from the time the petitioner becomes aware of the spouse’s inability to have sexual relations. Bigamy is a reason to divorce and is also a good reason to seek an annulment. Interestingly, legal experts suggest that a civil union with a married person is not legally valid. To be safe, lawyers advise the betrayed party to go before the courts for a pronouncement of invalidity. What is the process for divorce? Illinois offers no-fault divorces, which means proving wrongdoing is unnecessary. Once an honorable reason for divorce is established, the petitioning spouse sends a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the other party. The defendant has 30 days from being served to respond. Here’s more information on the divorce process in Illinois. What is the process for an annulment? Unlike filing for a divorce, the annulment process starts with a Petition for Annulment. The petition is filed with the local circuit court. The defendant served with the form either contests it or agrees to it. A judge will then declare an annulment if adequate grounds are presented. Divorce or Annulment A divorce and an annulment are two different beasts, but either can be successfully presented before the courts by a qualified divorce attorney from Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our family law attorneys stay up to date on all current Illinois laws in order to deliver our clients’ strongest cases to the courts. Working with Our Divorce Attorneys Each divorce or annulment case comes with unique baggage. The legal team at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. is prepared to deliver undivided attention to inform our clients of their options and expertly handle each case. We provide experience with all issues surrounding divorce and annulment. We are prepared to fight for your rights when it comes to spousal support, domestic violence, division of property, and a host of related issues. Spouses living in the community of Oak Lawn, Illinois, will receive powerful representation from the family law attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. With 50 years of combined legal expertise and a wealth of knowledge about Illinois divorce law, our professional divorce attorneys will handle your case very carefully. Get a Free Consultation Interested in a free consultation? Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 or fill out a contact form to the right and we will get back to you right away. We look forward to working with you!  [...]
August 24, 2023In any divorce case, there are a number of methods and resources you can employ to gather evidence showing that you possess good character. For a parent, using a character witness is especially beneficial when it comes to proving their ability to care for a child. Choosing reliable character witnesses is a challenging task especially if you are not sure what role a witness plays in a divorce case. Therefore, in order to improve the outcome of your family law trial, you need to know what a character witness does and whether or not there is a requirement for one in your particular case, and who you will ultimately choose for that role. The Role Of A Witness In A Divorce Case When going through a divorce, a character witness testifies about your moral character, responsibility, and other personal qualities. The court relies on this person’s word, so the witness must be very familiar with the person that they are testifying about. If you have to use a witness or witnesses, your attorney should ask the witness questions before the court. After your attorney has reviewed the questions with the witness, it will be your spouse’s attorney’s opportunity to ask their questions. But before the witness leaves, your attorney will have a final opportunity to ask any remaining questions. The Need For A Witness In A Divorce Case For people going through a divorce or a child custody issue or any family law-related matter, it is beneficial to have a strong witness or witnesses. A witness is absolutely necessary in cases where your some allegations have been made about your character. If your divorce case involves children, or if you are dealing with a child custody issue, a good character witness can point out your good qualities as a parent in front of the court. However, not every divorce case requires character witnesses, especially if the divorce process is amicable or if both spouses are working towards a mutually agreed upon settlement. Choosing a Witness in a Divorce Case Courts may not allow family members to act as character witnesses, due to certain perceived biases. So it’s advisable to have a friend, a colleague, or someone else who knows you very well to act as a character witness. It’s always best to choose someone close to you because they have first-hand accounts of both your behavior and your spouse’s. For example, in a case where abuse has been alleged, your best friend may have seen your spouse hit you, whereas your colleagues might have only seen the bruises and other evidence of abuse. In certain divorce cases, a witness may be used who can testify regarding both sides. For example, a nanny or housekeeper generally has firsthand experience watching the family and how each spouse behaves with their children. Such a witness can be instrumental in testifying about the qualities of both parents. If the couple shares a business, a colleague or business partner can attest to how each person contributed to the growth of the business. Every divorce case is unique and has its own specific set of challenges. When it comes to deciding whether you need a character witness or not, it is best to consult with your attorney. Work with an Attorney A competent and experienced family law attorney can evaluate your situation and determine the best legal methods to employ to protect your interests. [...]
August 2, 2023Getting a divorce can be devastating and seem like the end of the world – almost like a part of you is gone. Or that you lost your best friend. Many people often will feel lonely, self-loathing, anxious, and even depressed after a divorce. But the worst part is that some individuals will do things they may regret later, such as reacting irrationally or destroying property. But allowing this emotional pain and stress to consume you will only make everything worse, causing you to lose more than your spouse. Divorce Doesn’t End Everything Despite how you may feel about this change, never forget that a divorce doesn’t mean the end of the world. As much as you may feel like this is the end of all things good, it’s not. You haven’t lost everything, and that’s crucial to remember. You are only in the transition phase to a new life, and while it may seem scary, it won’t be so bad once you get through it. Although some divorces are more complicated than others. For divorcees who shared children and assets, like a home, car, or boat, having to maintain contact with the other partner can get stressful very quickly. This can also make the transition phase longer and more difficult. But this doesn’t mean that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. The end of one event will only lead to the beginning of another. So to get to that new beginning, you need to let go of the past, meaning pushing away the emotional pain and focusing on your own future. If you had children or shared assets from this marriage, you can speak to a divorce or child custody attorney to relieve some stress when it comes to determining the custody of the children and the division of the property. 10 of the Best Ways to Get Over a Divorce: Rest assured, the quicker you embrace these habits, the faster you will move towards a new, healthy lifestyle. Your ex-spouse will be a thing of the past and your future self will thank you for moving on as quickly as you did. 1. It’s OK to grieve after a divorce Dealing with grief and loss can be one of the most difficult feelings to overcome in life. It can also lead to isolation, self-sabotage, and depression. It can be hard for others to help the grieving overcome this process because everyone handles this emotion differently. Some divorcees can easily overcome this issue, quickly finding distractions to help them move on. For others, not so much. But no other couple will have experienced the same relationship as you and your ex, so each situation is completely unique. Even if you are one who finds it particularly difficult to overcome grief, it’s still healthy to allow yourself to experience it. Why? Because ignoring it will only make the feeling stronger, making it worse in the long run. So the best way to handle these emotions is to let yourself feel them now to get them out of the system rather than letting them build up over time. 2. Delete everything off your ex off your phone According to Time magazine, the average American checks their phone about 50 times a day. And many phones are filled with pictures, texts, and even videos of their significant others. As you can imagine, these are the last things you need bringing you down. The best thing to do during a divorce is to delete everything of and from them from your phone. The only exception to this rule is keeping their information when it concerns your children. Other than that, seeing their name everywhere in your phone will only cause more pain. As with all emails, never search your inbox and read them over and over. One of the most common mistakes is overanalyzing what they meant, either taking it as a hint to get back together or something worse. The same goes with ridding yourself of everything else given to you by your ex. Especially items with significant value – they will vary by person and you will know which items – the sooner you get rid of it, the better. 3. Stay positive Allowing “what if” and “If only” thoughts to consume your mind will only make things worse. The process of divorce often plays mind games, but never let yourself believe any of these negative thoughts. Common examples include, “I’ll never find someone to love me again,” and “I’m going to be alone forever.” That’s never true because life is full of surprises! The healing process is not always easy but it’s crucial to stay positive. If you believe good things will happen to you, they will. In ten or fifteen years from now, you may look back at yourself now and feel good about doing what was best for you. One good way to think about it is to think back to a previous breakup and how you were able to get over it then. What did you do to get over it? The situation you are in now is similar and it’s important to remember that you will heal after this divorce. Life is full of ups and downs but the beauty of it is that life always moves on, even when you feel it won’t. 4. Time heals all emotional pain This is one of the most important concepts to keep in mind: time heals all. Surely this isn’t the only time you’ve felt grief. If you think about the other difficult times in your life – such as being without a job and unable to pay bills, a previous breakup, or missing out on an opportunity – and how you got through it, it can ease some stress. Surely this situation will be different than all the others, but if you compare the emotion of heartbreak, grief, or stress you felt then, it can make things feel a little more bearable now. You won’t just be hoping for things to get better but will have past experiences to prove that it’s true. There are actually studies that prove that people are stronger when they are in a suffering stage. It may not come right away, but someday, you will wake up and be in a much better mood than the previous few days. You just need to have patience and know that your day is coming. 5. Don’t regret the marriage Many divorcees will view their marriage as a “waste of time” or a “failed relationship.” Thoughts like these can be easy to focus on, and they will come naturally. But they are not true. Did you know that if you keep dwelling on these negative thoughts, it will affect your willingness to take risks when you are ready for a new relationship? Just because your marriage didn’t last, it doesn’t mean that you wasted all that time and investment. Ask yourself these questions: Did you learn something? Do you have any happy or positive memories from that relationship? Did you have any kids with that person? If the answers to any of those questions are “yes,” then surely the marriage wasn’t a waste of time. 6. Learn from the past Going back to learning experiences, personal growth is one of the most valuable assets you can get out of a relationship. Think about what you learned about yourself, from the other person, and other people throughout your marriage. If you also think about who you were before entering that relationship, you may be surprised at the difference in what you know now versus then. Have you changed yourself for the better? Have you made any mistakes that turned into learning experiences? Are there new opportunities for you now that you didn’t have before? Did you learn about others that can help in a future relationship? Everyone can learn from their experiences, taking and applying this knowledge to a future relationship that can be successful in the long run. 7. Focus on yourself After long-lasting marriages, it may feel as if you forgot who you were as an individual. This can be a shocking experience after being married for so many years. It can also feel scary to be alone after spending so much time with the same person. But thinking about how much time you spent with them and being alone now is natural. But when you find yourself feeling like this, whether you’re alone at home, at work, or out with friends, remember that your past relationship doesn’t define you as a person. Your relationship never made up who you are, including your routine, your habits, likes and dislikes, etc. Getting into a new routine can be hard, yes, but you can do it without your ex. To help get into this new routine, it’s okay to be a little selfish: focus on you. Do what you want to do Stay out late Adopt a pet to have a companion Take a vacation. Get a hobby You don’t have to ask permission from anyone. Remember that you need to go easy on yourself to ease into the life of being single again. Go out and discover new things. The world can be scary to dive in alone, but you can use it as your motivation to rediscover yourself as a person and get excited about your future. 8. Appreciate what you do have and what you learned When you’re still heartbroken and/or stressed out about the divorce, it’s natural to only focus on what you have lost. But by doing this, you are only punishing yourself. The pain alone from a divorce is enough to deal with, so you never want to add to it by thinking about the physical things you lost. So you may not have gotten the TV or the brand-new car, but take a moment to think of everything you do have. These things don’t even have to be tangible; they can be things you achieved. To help with the process, write down a list of 10 things you really are proud of and maybe just not giving yourself enough credit. Even if you can’t, ask someone who knows you well to name a few for you. At times like this, family and friends can see more about you than you can yourself. 9. Remember the reason for your divorce It is common for couples to feel the need to get back together after a breakup. You may even feel it while you are grieving and it can be a struggle to not act on the urge to contact them. This feeling can feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Like you are afraid of facing the world alone, devastated, or incapable of moving on. So when you find yourself in this situation, think back about why it is that you divorced. Ask yourself these questions: Were you unhappy while you were with that person? Were they abusive? Did they constantly do things that hurt you? Did they never listen to you? If you were the one that proposed divorce, think back about how you felt about the marriage and why you decided to leave. Thinking back to unhappy memories can be stressful and difficult, but it is also the best way to prevent those feelings from happening again. But even after thinking about it, and you still want to get back together, ask yourself why. If the reasons that come to mind don’t sound rational, be honest with yourself and keep pushing yourself to focus on your new life without your ex. 10. Don’t lose hope in others If your ex was abusive, made you unhappy, or betrayed your trust, the feeling can be devastating. You feel like you never want to love or trust anyone again after what just happened. Some divorcees may even feel like the entire world is set on making them miserable. So it’s understandable that after your heartache, you will do anything you can to prevent this feeling from happening again. Emotions such as these are normal and it’s ok to distance yourself from others for a while. But thinking negatively about everyone else from a bad experience with one person is not the best way to go. Never let the pain caused by another person impact potential relationships you may have with other people. At times like these, spend more time with your friends. They can help you to restore faith in humanity and open yourself up to new relationships from which you can also benefit. So instead of going straight home after work, text a friend and take advantage of happy hour at your favorite restaurant. Creating new memories can ease the stress and help you move forward toward your new life. Additional Help for Getting Through a Divorce Going through a divorce can be one of life’s highest hurdles. But remember that you are not alone. There are others who are dealing with the same stress and grief at this very moment. Know that you also have friends and family that can help you overcome these emotions. Studies have also shown that individuals who spend more time with others are able to come out of a divorce faster than those who don’t. But getting through the emotional stress of a divorce is just one part. There are also financial difficulties, property division, and in many cases, children involved.  Due to the fact these situations must be sorted out, maintaining contact with your ex can be difficult, especially when they seem unreasonable. Work with a Divorce Attorney On the other hand, working with a divorce attorney can help sort out these complications. The experienced lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. have over 50 years of combined experience when it comes to divorce and child custody. They will provide you with their undivided attention, handling your case with professionalism and assertion to help you obtain what you deserve. They have also worked with many diverse cases and won with their knowledge, resources, and determination to establish the best solution for their clients. To schedule a consultation with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. give us a call at (708) 425-9530. [...]
July 20, 2023Choosing to end a marriage is a pivotal time in a person’s life. If children are involved, the entire family unit is turned upside down for the duration of the divorce period. Plus, proceeding with a divorce is costly both financially and in terms of irreplaceable time. Cost to File for Divorce In Illinois, the average cost of divorce ranges from $40,00 to $30,000. With minor children, property division, and alimony issues, a divorce can be upwards of $20,000. Divorce is expensive. Factors that contribute to the high cost of divorce include court filings, sharing documents, and payment to expert witnesses, such as financial analysts or appraisers. In Illinois, a divorce stemming from faults, like adultery, impotence, cruelty, substance abuse or abandonment, can lead to even pricier divorces. The cost of divorce simply gets higher when couples require a judge to resolve, for instance, property division battles or child custody issues. Spouses who are able to settle prior to the trial pay a markedly lesser price to finalize the divorce. So here’s how to file for divorce without a lawyer. Filing for Divorce through Mediation Settling prior to trial makes financial sense. Spouses in Illinois have the option to settle through a process known as mediation, which allows parties to file for divorce without a lawyer. Mediation negotiations allow both parties to mutually agree on relevant issues. Spouses have significant control over the solutions to their conflicts during the mediation process, rather than having a judge govern the outcomes during trial. Spouses who choose to mediate their divorce have the right to file for divorce without a lawyer if either party lives in the state of Illinois. The process begins with hiring the right divorce mediator: Both spouses meet with the mediator, providing financial documents and relevant forms during the discovery process. Over the course of one to four meetings with the mediator, negotiations take place surrounding important issues, like child support, parental time and property division. The mediator takes into account the discussions and drafts a Memorandum of Understanding. Once mediation has been completed, spouses can file for a divorce with or without a lawyer (depending on the preferred method). While divorces handled by a mediator are quicker and cost-effective, mediation is not for everyone. The key to a successful mediation is mutual agreement between spouses. The only way to make mediation a viable solution is if both parties agree to the divorce and work together to achieve practical solutions. When one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t, the full cooperation that is necessary for a successful mediation will prevent the mediation from taking place. Mediation, being a voluntary process, is not an option when conflicting interests are present. Filing for Divorce Without Mediation In instances when a divorce is not a shared decision between spouses, a divorce lawyer can step in. One spouse will need to hire a divorce attorney, who will then serve divorce papers to the other spouse to start the litigation process. Divorce proceedings require gathering a significant amount of personal information. When one spouse opposes providing the necessary details in a “good faith” negotiation, a divorce lawyer can help. A divorce attorney will petition the courts to legally compel the other spouse to provide the necessary paperwork and documents necessary to move the divorce forward. The Requirements for Mediation Mediations require the collaboration between two competent spouses. A wife or husband who wishes to file for divorce from an incapacitated spouse, however, will not be able to do so without the services of a divorce attorney. An incapacitated spouse, for instance, may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may be unable to make decisions independently or may be mentally unstable. Mediation is not a feasible option in these instances. Without the incapacitated spouse having a suitable court advocate, the divorce settlement could potentially be thrown out by the courts. Divorcees are unlikely to want to repeat the divorce process if, somewhere down the line, the incapacitated spouse claims he or she did not comprehend the situation. When it is Better to File for Divorce with a Lawyer Divorce lawyers are especially valuable to the divorcing party when the other spouse refuses to disclose all marital assets and liabilities. The divorce lawyer has the power to subpoena all necessary financial documents during the litigation process. A mediator does not have the legal authority to compel this type of disclosure. Despite the financial attractiveness of hiring a divorce mediator, filing for a divorce without an attorney is not always a workable option. Mediation functions well during an uncontested divorce. Most divorces, on the other hand, are messy, with one party refusing to divorce or unwilling to disclose all financial assets. A divorce lawyer with the proper training and experience can provide the optimum services to relieve either party of the financial strain and overall stress of divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney is invaluable in a multitude of financial aspects pertaining to the contested divorce: Financial disclosures Alimony as calculated by income Child support (based on the state of Illinois) Restraining orders that prevent spouses from transferring assets before trial Division of assets and property, including retirement benefits, stock options, and business interests. How to File for Divorce with an Affordable Attorney When you are seeking a divorce and your divorce is simple (without children or uncomplicated financial assets), you will benefit from hiring a less experienced attorney. However, should your situation be complex, with the involvement of custody battles and substantial assets, seek the services of an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with the current and changing laws in Illinois? The divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. have over 50 years of experience handling various aspects of divorce, both contested and uncontested. Spouses looking for a divorce lawyer will find ease in knowing that our divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are skilled in spousal support, parenting time, division of property, and post-decree issues, among other areas of expertise involved in divorces. Contact Us Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. offers competitive strategies to help you navigate through the complex routes of divorce and determine what’s best for your needs. We reliably service the Oak Lawn, IL area and surrounding communities. Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. [...]
July 10, 2023Divorce. The mere mention of the term triggers a rollercoaster of negative factors, including a drain on finances and a seemingly unending toll on emotions. The presence of children can make child custody battles exactly that—an important but exhausting fight. Prepare for an impending divorce so you’re well-equipped with the armaments of combat. Divorce proceedings differ markedly, however, with some divorces being amiable, while others teeter on the brink of war. The type of divorce you will be involved in can determine how smoothly the process will go. But overall, here’s how to prepare for divorce so there are no dreadful surprises along the way: Prepare financially Expect a lengthy process Seek emotional support Inventory property Close joint accounts Choose your divorce team Prepare for custody battles Find a good attorney 1. Prepare Financially Spouses can expect to spend thousands of dollars on divorce. On average $15,500 covers the cost of attorney’s fees. At the lower end, spouses can get divorced for $1,000. Partners have even been known to spend $100,000 to legally split from their spouses. The more elements that are involved in the divorce, the higher the cost of the divorce will be. Examples that drive divorce expenses upward include child custody, child support, spousal support or alimony, property division, and reimbursement claims. Adequately plan to finance your divorce by setting aside a hefty portion of your earnings. Estimate your monthly budget. Cut unnecessary expenses. Ensure you have enough monetary assets to maintain your standard of living through a possibly lengthy divorce. 2. Expect a Lengthy Process Aside from eating away at your expense, a divorce might draw out for months. The estimated time it takes for a divorce to be completed starts with filing the petition and ends with settling or receiving a court judgment. Battling spouses can fight out a divorce over the course of 11 months on average. When several issues are involved, a divorce is likely to be resolved in 17.6 months. Couples who settled took about nine months to finalize the divorce. Whether your divorce is messy or straightforward, plan to spend time managing your part during the legal process. 3. Seek Emotional Support A divorce can speed through several emotions, from anger and guilt to frustration and relief. Prepare for this emotional journey by seeking support from friends, a divorce support group or therapists. Remember that during a divorce, intense emotions can lead to poor decision-making. A circle of positive support can help you maintain a level head and help you approach divorce negotiations with calmness. Find a reliable network to support you through this life-changing event. 4. Inventory Property Marital property can be identified as personal belongings, heirlooms, real estate, income, tools, jewelry and financial assets. During a divorce, marital property will be divided. Prepare for the division of property by documenting your belongings with digital photos. Photographic evidence of your personal property should be dated to prove ownership. Keep all evidence of your belongings in a safe place away from your spouse. Examples of places to store evidence of marital property can be at work, a safe deposit box, with friends or family, and electronically. You’ll protect your marital property in the event your spouse attempts to claim that the items are not lawfully yours. 5. Close Joint Accounts While married, spouses commonly share bank accounts. Open an individual financial account and close any joint accounts as soon as you make the decision to file for divorce. Electronic account statements sent to a new email address will offer you added security and protection from your spouse. 6. Choose Your Divorce Team Carefully select reliable people to take you through the stressful duration of a divorce. A divorce team might consist of a mediator, judge, financial planner, mental health professional to assess child custody situations and a dependable divorce lawyer. Navigating a divorce successfully requires the help of others. Trust your team of intelligent and experienced people, who are on your side to help you achieve the best outcome. 7. Prepare for Custody Battles When you expect custody disputes, prepare well in advance. Show the court how involved you are in your children’s lives. Note who takes the children to appointments and extracurricular activities. The children’s school can provide documentation of who attended parent-teacher conferences. When relevant, drug evaluations and police reports can demonstrate why a spouse should not have custody of the children. 9. Find a Good Attorney As a legal process, divorce requires the services of a lawyer. Divorce proceedings may even be accomplished with a mediator. Complicated divorces especially, however, require the expertise of a divorce attorney. Negotiations can be complex, and an experienced lawyer can help you navigate through the paperwork and processes. Experts recommend interviewing at least three attorneys who are experienced in family law and the specific type of divorce you need before settling on one to represent you. A lawyer who is a good negotiator, who is knowledgeable about the changing laws, and who communicates well is invaluable during divorce proceedings. Plus, an ideal lawyer will educate you on the divorce process and creatively solve arising issues. A trust or estate lawyer can offer recommendations for reputable divorce lawyers. Local attorneys also can be found via online websites that feature valuable client reviews. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. A local divorce attorney is essential to ensure the lawyer is experienced in the judicial system in your area. If you live in the Oak Lawn, IL community and are planning for a divorce, contact the area’s most trusted law firm, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our experienced divorce attorneys have successfully worked on cases revolving around spousal support, child support, domestic violence, division of property and numerous other aspects of divorce, like post-decree issues and visitation. The lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are thoroughly knowledgeable in the various current laws to offer the best solutions possible for each unique case. Once you are ready and prepared for divorce, you can count on the legal team at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. to thoroughly answer any questions you have about the legal process. [...]
Every Case is Unique

Fill out the form below to submit your case for a free consultation.

5210 West 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL 60453



Call Now ButtonCall Us (708) 425-9530