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Illinois Divorce Law

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Divorce is oftentimes one of the most challenging events in an individual’s life. A once-meaningful relationship has turned sour, and the family falls apart. Enduring the uphill battle of divorce proceedings is an emotional and financial struggle. Having a general understanding of the basics of Illinois divorce law can somewhat ease the complicated process of navigating through the legal system.

Uncontested Divorce

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Many states will vary according to divorce law. here is what Illinois states.

If you and your spouse agree to dissolve the union and are on friendly terms, an uncontested divorce will save each party significant hardship. You’ll avoid going to trial if all matters related to the divorce can be handled by filing a joint petition and attending the final hearing.

Certain qualifications must be met for both spouses to proceed with an uncontested divorce. These criteria include but are not limited to:

  • The length of marriage has been eight years or less.
  • The couple have no children, and the wife is not pregnant.
  • Both parties have lived apart for six months and are separated.
  • The right to receive alimony is permanently waived by both spouses.
  • Either spouse has lived in Illinois for 90 days prior to filing for divorce.

A joint simplified dissolution requires both spouses to agree on all the major points of the divorce.

While a friendly divorce is rather uncommon, contested divorces appear more frequently before a judge.

Filing for Divorce

Spouses who wish to legally separate ways should start by filing for divorce. The individual who first files the case is known as the plaintiff. The defendant is the spouse who must answer the initial petition within 30 days.

At least one party must be a resident of Illinois for 90 days in order to file for dissolution in the state. A non-resident spouse, who is not under the jurisdiction of the Illinois court, cannot be ordered by the court to pay for child support, alimony, or debts.

Length of Divorce Proceedings

The divorce process is lengthy. Paperwork alone takes one month to complete before receiving a final court date. An unresolved case will go to trial. Divorces can linger in court for a minimum of one year.

Maiden Name Restoration

A spouse whose divorce is granted can request that her maiden or former name be reinstated.

Divorces Based on Fault

Illinois recognizes several faults as being grounds for divorce. These marital misconducts include, but are not limited to:

  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • Bigamy
  • An attempt by one spouse on the other spouse’s life
  • Drug or alcohol addictions
  • Transference of an STD from one spouse to the other
  • Felony or other criminal conviction
  • Abandonment

Fault-based grounds like these rarely make an impact on the divorce outcomes, since the division of property and alimony decisions enforced by the courts do not rely on them. Rather, the judge will consider the faults when evaluating matters surrounding child custody and visitation.

No-Fault Divorce

On the other hand, a no-fault divorce means that neither spouse is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. Requirements for a no-fault divorce in Illinois involve four simple criteria:

  • The spouses have separated, living apart for at least two years (spouses can still live under the same roof and be separated; however, they must demonstrate that they live separate and apart)
  • Irreconcilable differences (one of the most commonly heard reasons for divorce)
  • Efforts toward reconciliation have failed
  • The family would not benefit from any possible reconciliation

No-fault grounds for divorce do not require proof of any marital misdoings.

Property Division

Illinois divorce law is established with the aim to provide equitable and fair divisions of property—which does not necessarily mean equal. Any property, such as stocks or pension benefits, acquired by either spouse after the marriage is deemed marital property. Marital property is divided according to several criteria (none of which consider marital misconduct), such as

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s contribution toward the acquisition or maintenance of the marital property
  • The economic state of each spouse when the division of property becomes effective

When children are involved, the court may set aside a portion of the estates in a trust or fund to support the overall welfare of any minor or dependent children.

Child Custody

Parents of children who have resided in Illinois for at least six consecutive months may be granted custody of the children. Child custody decisions are evaluated and made by the courts. The judge’s determinations are based on a set of relevant factors, such as

  • The preferences of the parents as to custody
  • The preferences of the child(ren) as to his or her custodian
  • Any relationships between the parents, siblings or significant adults that would affect the child’s welfare
  • The child’s adjustment to a new school or community
  • Any presence of repeated abuse
  • Whether or not a parent is a sex offender
  • The physical and mental well-being of all parties involved

When determining child custody, Illinois courts favor joint custody, especially when the situation will be in the best interests of the minor.

Help with Illinois Divorce Law

Spouses entangled in the intricate web of divorce, with its seemingly limitless laws and requirements, should seek the services of an experienced family law attorney, one who can provide a clear path toward marital dissolution.

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. retains a staff of experienced divorce attorneys. Our team offers over 50 years of combined experience in all areas of divorce law. Our lawyers stay knowledgeable about current Illinois divorce laws and practices, which are updated by lawmakers over time.

The Attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

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If you have any questions or need help with your divorce, give the attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. a call and we’ll schedule a free consultation.

The Berry K. Tucker & Associates Ltd. team of divorce lawyers serve our clients in several areas revolving around divorce. Child support, visitation, spousal support, and division of property are common areas that the divorce lawyers handle with ease and dedication. Other relevant areas of expertise include pre- and post-nuptial agreements and post-decree issues.

While it helps to be familiar with Illinois divorce law, you can rely on the divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. to manage your case with professionalism, experience in Illinois divorce law and commitment to your case. We offer a free consultation so you can judge whether or not our services are right for you.

Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 in Oak Lawn, IL for a free consultation.

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