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What Happens if My Spouse Doesn’t Respond to the Petition for Divorce?

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The dissolution of a marital union is an emotionally challenging process. But when a marriage cannot be saved, divorce is inevitable. The divorce process starts by filling out multiple forms, one of which includes the petition for divorce. Divorce may proceed if the spouse opts to ignore the petition.

Fault-Based DivorcesWoman Signing Papers for Divorce

When contemplating divorce, it is necessary to determine what type of divorce will be filed. In Illinois, one of two types of divorces may be filed: no-fault or fault-based. A no-fault divorce may proceed without proof that the other spouse is the cause for the failure of the marriage.

A fault-based divorce requires one or more grounds for divorce, such as adultery, bigamy or impotence. A spouse who abandons the other spouse for a year or more is also grounds for divorce. A felony conviction and substance abuse are sufficient causes for a fault-based divorce.

Legitimate causes for a fault-based divorce in Illinois also include extreme mental or physical cruelty and attempting to inflict life-threatening harm on a spouse. An additional cause for a fault-based divorce includes infecting the spouse with a sexually transmitted disease.

What is a petition?

Upon knowing what type of divorce will be filed, the next step is to fill out the appropriate forms. Each county in Illinois requires different forms. In Cook County, for instance, required documents include a domestic relations cover sheet, petition, summons, and verification of allegations in the petition.

At a minimum, however, Illinois courts require that a petition for divorce be filed to initiate the divorce proceedings. The form is officially known as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This legal document is a written request for divorce.

The individual filing for divorce is known as the petitioner or plaintiff. The spouse receiving the petition is called the respondent or defendant. Several methods may be used to serve the petition to the respondent, including via a private process server or the sheriff’s office.

What’s next once the petition is served?Berry-K-Tucker-&-Associates-Ltd-Oak-Lawn-IL

Once the petition is served, the respondent has 30 days to respond to the divorce petition. The spouse who receives the divorce petition is not required by law to respond and may voluntarily ignore the allegations outlined in the legal document.

A spouse may fail to respond to a divorce petition for a range of reasons. The serving spouse may be unable to locate the other spouse; the respondent is in jail; or, the spouse is deployed with the military. Or, the respondent simply has no major issues to argue about.

When a spouse encounters difficulties with serving divorce papers, it is important to consult the local county clerk for service rules and regulations. In most Illinois counties, however, the preferred method of serving divorce papers is via the sheriff’s service.

As mentioned, a respondent may choose to ignore the divorce petition. The spouse may have no valid reasons, such as children or marital property, to challenge the divorce proceedings. Without a response, the divorce case will continue without the respondent.

What is a default judgment?

Divorce-Law-Orland-Park-IL

A judge will consider the petitioning spouse’s arguments and come to a verdict without the respondent. The Illinois courts come to a default judgment. Without an answer to the petition, the judge will assume the respondent agrees with the terms of the divorce petition.

The divorce petition may include a range of specific terms made by the petitioning spouse. The non-petitioning spouse may be served with terms, such as property division, spousal support or maintenance, child support and custody, and any other demands, made by the petitioner.

In a default case, the petitioning spouse will appear in court. At the hearing, this spouse will provide evidence to the judge regarding what is stated in the divorce petition. The judge will issue a divorce order solely based on what the petitioning spouse says and proves in court.

Can a default divorce be challenged?

Although the non-petitioning spouse may choose to avoid answering the petition, it is rarely in his or her best interests. The judge’s decisions, for instance, may not be agreeable to the spouse. Opting to take a passive route could also cause the spouse to feel regrets later on.

Once the default judgment is made, the unresponsive spouse has the option to set aside the judgment. In this case, the non-petitioning spouse will be required to provide a valid reason for failing to answer the divorce petition. Normally, a time limit for providing an explanation will be in effect.

Challenging a default judgment also requires that the non-petitioning spouse fill out court forms that request the court to vacate the default judgment. The legal forms must be submitted within 30 days; otherwise, it will be more difficult to reverse the default judgment.

A spouse who does not respond to a petition for divorce relinquishes his or her right to have a say in the divorce case. An uncooperative spouse can make the process of divorce more taxing than necessary. However, a default divorce is available to petitioners who properly serve divorce papers.

Work with a Divorce Attorney

Young Man Speaking with Attorney

Proceeding with divorce when a spouse fails to answer requires the legal expertise of a divorce attorney. Qualified family law attorneys from Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will help you prepare for the possibility of pursuing a default case when your spouse ignores a divorce petition.

Navigating divorce alone can be overwhelming. But with knowledgeable support from the legal team at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., your journey through and out of divorce will be less stressful. We represent you fairly in court and see that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

Whether your divorce case involves spousal maintenance, child support, division of property or post-decree issues, the divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will assert your needs in court. We support Oak Lawn, IL and the surrounding areas throughout the legal process.

Call 708-425-9530 for an initial consultation.

The 4 Main Issues to Settle in a Divorce

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Divorce opens up a range of personal and financial issues. Despite the seemingly endless nuances considered in a divorce case, four issues are considered as most important. The main issues to be settled in a divorce are property division, parental responsibilities, child support and spousal maintenance.

  1. Property DivisionProperty-Division-Divorce

A divorce alters the legal status of properties. Illinois follows an equitable distribution approach, meaning that property is divided fairly—but not necessarily equally—between the divorcing spouses. Instead of a 50/50 split, Illinois courts evaluate several factors in order to come to a decision.

The Illinois judge will take into account the arrangements as detailed in a prenuptial agreement. Each spouse’s health, age, vocational skills, occupation, and employability are also considered. Relevant factors include each spouse’s debts and financial needs. The length of the marriage is examined.

The Illinois courts consider whether or not one spouse is receiving spousal support, any spousal responsibilities from prior marriages (such as child support) and the contributions either spouse made to the acquisition or preservation of the marital property (homemaker contributions are factored in).

If divorcing spouses cannot afford to keep the marital home, the Illinois judge will order the house to be sold as quickly as possible; proceeds from the sale will be divided equitably. A judge might award the home to the custodial parent to provide a stable environment for the children.

  1. Parental ResponsibilitiesMother-Daughter-Smiling-Laughing

Parental responsibility and parenting time are what the Illinois courts now assign (as opposed to sole and joint custody in the years prior to 2016). A judge will step in when divorcing parents are unable to agree on major issues surrounding the children’s upbringing.

When parental responsibilities are allocated, one or both parents make decisions about the children’s healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Effective since 2016, Illinois’ Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines the extent of decision making between divorcing parents.

For example, in an Illinois divorce, an allocation judgement could allow the children’s father to make all decisions about their education; the mother would make all decisions about the children’s religious upbringing. Decisions about the children’s healthcare could be made jointly by both parents.

Another way Illinois courts could divide parental responsibilities is to give the mother the decision-making power in all even-numbered years and the father in all odd-numbered years. Illinois laws encourage maximum cooperation and involvement from both parents in the upbringing of children.

  1. Child Support

The right to receive child support is a right of the child—not the parents. Consequently, any agreements into which divorcing parents enter must follow guidelines as established by Illinois laws and be approved of by the courts. Both parents are responsible for contributing financially to raising their children.

Prior to 2017, Illinois courts utilized a percentage formula to calculate child support. Since then, an income shares model has been in force. Illinois’ income shares model factors in the incomes of both parents plus how much the parents would have spent on their children if they shared finances.

Illinois judges must follow the state’s approved formula when calculating child support. Deviations from the formula may be made if the calculated amounts do not fully address the children’s needs. Expenses for daycare, private school tuition and healthcare may be added, for instance.

Further examples of reasonable deviations include adding extra child support for children who have special needs or if the parent has extraordinary medical expenses. A high-income parent may pay more than what is outlined in the guidelines, while a low-income parent might pay less.

  1. Spousal MaintenanceDivorce-Attorney-Gavel

Alimony is another term for spousal maintenance, whereby one spouse makes payments to the other during or after divorce. Spousal support is appropriate when one spouse is a high earner and the other is not. The goal of alimony is to maintain the financial situation of both parties after divorce.

Temporary alimony is usually awarded when Illinois divorce cases are pending. The courts evaluate each spouse’s income, whether or not the spouse will pay child support and whether or not either spouse needs financial assistance prior to arriving at a decision regarding spousal maintenance.

Once the divorce is finalized and the judge creates a new order, the temporary support ceases. A spouse may be ordered to permanently support the other spouse, and such scenarios are typically when the spouse is unable to self-support after divorce (due to age, illness, or other conditions).

When deciding alimony, Illinois judges will evaluate several factors. Each spouse’s need for support is key, as is the earning potential of each spouse. The courts will examine how much time the requesting party needs to gain training to become employable. The length of marriage is also considered.

Work with a Divorce AttorneyBerry-K.-Tucker-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-Oak-Lawn-IL

When divorce is imminent, the abovementioned issues will have to be settled. In order to reach your goals in court, you need an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney from Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. on your side. We will help you navigate the complexities of Illinois divorce laws.

The reputable firm of divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. brings over fifty years of combined experience in family law. We have successfully handled cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, division of property and spousal support (also known as alimony or maintenance).

Our divorce lawyers will skillfully represent you when post-decree issues arise, including changes to marital status, your child’s needs, and income. Notify us when an ex-spouse does not meet spousal obligations per the divorce decree, and we will work to ensure your needs continue to be met.

Get a Free Consultation

When you seek a strong legal partnership in the Oak Lawn, IL area, consult Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. at (708) 425-9530.

Our divorce lawyers dedicate time and attention to the details of your case so that you receive maximum benefit in court. If you reside in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and are anticipating a divorce, choose us for competitive representation.

What is a Good 50/50 Custody Schedule?

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Upon divorce, parents will likely share custody of their kids. A good 50/50 custody schedule gives children an opportunity to spend equal time with each parent. Varying 50/50 scheduling options exist, and parents may elect to stick with one or alternate when unexpected circumstances arise.

The varying types of child custody that courts award can be confusing. As a refresher, remember that physical custody means the child will live with a designated parent and follow a specified parenting schedule. A parent with legal custody makes decisions about the child’s upbringing.

What to Know About 50/50 CustodyParent Meeting with Attorneys About Child Custody

In joint physical or shared custody arrangements, both parents must agree on a schedule that works for the family. A 50/50 custody schedule is the most common. This type of arrangement allows the children to develop strong relationships with both parents. However, commitment to the schedule is necessary.

Before exploring the numerous variations of 50/50 custody schedules, it is important to factor in physical distance. For instance, divorcees may live in different states or towns; or they may live down the block. Living a further distance away may pose as an issue for multiple weekly exchanges.

What Affects 50/50 Custody Schedules

Amicability between co-parents is also key. If the parents are unable to communicate without conflict, choose a 50/50 custody schedule that requires minimal communication. Be aware, too, that traffic jams and late meetings can disrupt custody schedules. Parents must civilly relay this information.

When considering which of the various options make an ideal 50/50 custody arrangement, take into account both parents’ work schedules. A hectic work schedule may impede timely exchanges between co-parents. Additionally, consider the children’s extracurricular activity schedules when discussing 50/50 custody arrangements.

The children’s ages also play large roles when evaluating 50/50 custody schedules. Older children are better able to handle not seeing one parent for an extended period of time. Younger children, however, will have difficulty with long intervals between visits to see the other parent.

Every 50/50 custody schedule has its pros and cons. While one arrangement may work, unanticipated life events may disrupt existing scheduling. Co-parents who are evaluating the various 50/50 custody schedules are advised to examine current, repeating schedules as a starting point.

  1. 1. Alternating WeeksChild-Support-Berry-K-Tucker-&-Associates-Ltd.

The simplest 50/50 custody schedule alternates each week spent with a parent. Mom may have the children one week, and Dad has the children the following week. While straightforward, a setup featuring alternating weeks has its own advantages and disadvantages.

A 50/50 schedule that alternates weeks is ideal for co-parents who require minimal communication. Older children, too, can better handle a week without seeing one parent. However, young children may have trouble not seeing a parent for an extended length of time.

  1. 2. Alternating Weeks with One Midweek Overnight

Parents may wish to see their children without having to wait an entire week. In such cases, incorporating one overnight during the week is beneficial for everyone. Sunday through Wednesday is spent with Mom, Thursday with Dad, and the rest of the week with Mom. Next week’s schedule is reversed.

Adding an overnight stay midweek will not work for co-parents who live a good distance apart. Neither will it be suitable for young children who will be unable to fully settle in during the single overnight that occurs during the middle of the week.

  1. 3. Alternating 2-2-3

Involved parents who would like more frequent contact with their young children may be inclined to choose an alternating 2-2-3 schedule, in which two days are spent with Mom, two with Dad and three with Mom. In the following week, the opposite schedule is enforced.

The complications of an alternating 2-2-3 arrangement occur when the parents and children lead busy lifestyles filled with work meetings and school activities. A co-parent may not know how his schedule will look like on any given Monday, which presents a problem for this 50/50 custody schedule.

  1. 4. Alternating 3-3-4-4

A solution to the inconsistencies of the above schedule is the alternating 3-3-4-4 arrangement. Parents and children enjoy greater stability, as the schedule for each day of the week is firmly set. Mom will always have the children Sunday through Tuesday, and Dad Wednesday through Saturday.

Such a schedule gives parents greater contact with their children on a regular basis. Being a straightforward and simplified arrangement, parents know when to expect time with their children and can better accommodate future events or plans that fall on a co-parent’s date.

A good 50/50 custody schedule will vary among families. Based on the children’s ages and distance between households, what works for one family may be less than ideal for another. No matter what 50/50 custody schedule is ultimately chosen, the kids should feel at home with both parents.

Create a children’s bedroom in both homes. Recreate the children’s space so that what is most important to them may be found in both locations. The last things parents want is to force their children to drag belongings back and forth between homes. Children should feel they have two homes.

Work with a Child Custody AttorneyFamily-Attorneys-Oak-Lawn-IL

As the kids grow older, allow them to voice their preferences in regard to scheduling. Formal documentation of the agreed-upon 50/50 custody schedule is also beneficial. To that end, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. is available to meet your and your co-parent’s objectives.

The child custody and divorce lawyers at Berry K Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are highly experienced in handling a wide range of child custody situations. We heavily research, prepare and promptly present cases so parents are able to reach a fair resolution quickly and return to their daily lives.

Our team of child custody lawyers skillfully advocate for the rights of mothers and fathers. Whether you have been granted joint or sole parental responsibility, our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of child custody laws and will represent you in the most favorable light.

Schedule a Consultation

Families living in Oak Lawn, Illinois, are urged to contact Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., the area’s most reputable firm of child custody attorneys at (708) 425-9530. During your consultation, we will offer expert legal counsel that will help you navigate the complex laws surrounding child custody.

What to Do When Your Ex Doesn’t Follow a Divorce Decree

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Upon getting a divorce, ex-spouses can reasonably expect obligations outlined in the divorce decree to be honored. On occasion, however, an ex-spouse may fail to abide by the judge’s terms. In these scenarios, you have the right to seek enforcement of the divorce decree through the courts.

What is a divorce decree?

Divorce AgreementOnce the marriage legally ends through divorce proceedings, the court issues a divorce decree. This document contains various details, including the reasons the marriage dissolved. The decree indicates what each divorcee must do in terms of property division, child support and parental time.

An ex-spouse may not always fully comply with the terms outlined in the decree. Noncompliance with the court-issued decree may be handled by first referring to the decree to determine the ex-spouse’s responsibilities and then pursuing enforcement through the courts.

A divorce can take months or years to finalize. In the event of a trial, the judge evaluates all evidence and testimonies to arrive at a decision. Child custody, alimony, property division and child support are considered—and are written in a decree. Upon settling a case, the decree is issued.

Remember the divorce becomes final on the date the court signs the decree. The ex-spouses are likely to receive the decree a few days after the signing since the document is routed to the divorce lawyer. The attorney then forwards a copy of the decree to the client.

What happens when an ex-spouse doesn’t follow the divorce decree?

Physically-Separate-How-to-Deal-with-an-Ex-After-Divorce

When an ex-spouse does not fulfill the obligations as outlined in the decree, the other spouse should take action to get those needs met. Before taking steps to file a motion for the decree to be enforced by the courts, the ex-spouse should ensure all personal responsibilities are being satisfied.

The ex-spouse who violates the terms of the divorce decree without approaching the court for modification is in contempt of the court (which means the individual is guilty of disobedience to the courts). The court that issued the decree has the power to enforce all aspects of the divorce decree.

But here’s what to do if your ex doesn’t follow the divorce decree.

1. Determine the violations

Review the decree to see which provisions the ex-spouse has failed to fulfill. Examples of such failures include being late in paying child support or making spousal maintenance payments. The ex-spouse may have violated child custody or parental time as ordered by the judge.

Or, property distribution orders may have been violated. For instance, an ex-spouse may be guilty of neglecting to transfer title to real estate or other assets as awarded by the judge upon the divorce. Document these violations for support of your case.

2. Gather evidence

Serving-your-Spouse-Summons-How-to-File-for-DivorceAn important part of facilitating a successful intervention through the courts is to provide substantial evidence of the other party’s violations of the divorce decree. Examples of the types of documents that serve as proof of the ex-spouse’s noncompliance include written communications and financial records.

These documentations are critical and intended to support the injured party’s case once the court enforcement takes place. The burden of proof is on the injured party. Be prepared to back up all accusations of noncompliance with ample documentation and proof of contempt.

3. File a motion for contempt of court

Respond to the violation of the terms of the divorce decree by filing a motion for contempt of court. This process may be initiated pro-se litigant, and the injured party should call the court clerk for information about what forms to independently file.

The court clerk will help to determine whether the injured ex-spouse should file a motion for civil contempt of court, motion for enforcement or an alternate action. The clerk will also provide information about laws surrounding how the ex-spouse will be served the contempt motion.

Filing a motion for contempt of court may also be done through an attorney. The motion indicates which parts of the divorce decree were violated and the reason the ex-spouse should be held in contempt of court. Although the lawyer serves the ex, the injured party is responsible for proof.

The ex-spouse has the opportunity to respond to the motion. The judge may give the guilty party a chance to immediately rectify the aspect of the divorce decree he or she has violated; or, the judge may provide a time frame within which to do so.

The court will set a date for a hearing. If the guilty party is found to be in contempt of court, the judge can specify how the ex-spouse may purge himself or herself of the contempt. Jail time for as long as the contempt continues is also a realistic possibility.

Each state is different when it comes to jail time or early release for being in contempt of the court. No time in jail may be warranted when the guilty party has lost a job, sustained a physical or emotional disability, or has no one to care for dependent children.

Get Help from a Divorce Attorney

A divorce decree is legally binding, and the courts will uphold it with due process of law. If you are unable to comply with the terms of the decree, bring up the situation with your attorney or the courts. The divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will help.Client-Talking-to-Attorney-in-Office

Our firm of dedicated divorce attorneys will also assist you in the event your ex-spouse violates the terms of the divorce decree. If you have a post-decree issue, we will represent you in court and ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

In addition to divorce decree issues, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. provide expert legal counsel in regard to various divorce matters. Our experience includes working on cases involving domestic violence, spousal support, division of property, child custody and allocation of parental responsibilities.

Families and individuals living in Oak Lawn, Illinois, turn to Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. for knowledgeable legal advice and competitive representation. Rest assured our divorce lawyers will work diligently to arrive at the most optimal solutions for your individual case.

Schedule an Initial Consultation

Give Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. a call at 708-425-9530 to schedule your initial consultation with our experienced divorce attorneys.

Using Witnesses in a Divorce Trial

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In 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.

Couple-Talking-with-Gavel

Having a witness who speaks on your behalf can provide additional support for your case.

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 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.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Illinois

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Divorce is expensive, almost as expensive as getting hitched at the altar in a celebratory wedding. When it comes to proclaiming a lifetime union, couples in the United States spend on average $33,391 on a wedding. Divorce, on the other hand, costs spouses at least one-third of the dizzying cost of nuptials.

Costs to separate from a once-beloved spouse vary widely across the country. Out of all 50 states, California is the most expensive state in which to get divorced. The average divorce filing fee in the Golden State is $435, with average attorney’s fees hovering around $13,800. In contrast, one of the least expensive states in which to get divorced is North Dakota, with average divorce filing fees of $80 and average attorney fees of $8,200.Divorce-Cost-Illinois

Illinois is not an economical state in which to legally separate from a spouse. Our state is in the top 10 states with the priciest divorce fees.

On average, the cost to divorce in Illinois is $13,800. Include child custody and support, alimony, and property division into the mix, and financing a divorce sharply climbs to an average of $35,300.

Filing Fee – $289

The average fee to file for divorce in Illinois is $289, which is above the national average; while the average divorce attorney fees amble around a stark $10,900.

Couples who race toward the divorce finish line must begin their journey by filing for a divorce. The simple but necessary act of filing itself costs a few hundred dollars. Under certain circumstances, like when individuals have insufficient income to pay the divorce filing costs, the fee may be waived.

Children – $20,700

Bring children into the picture, and divorce costs skyrocket to $20,700 on average in Illinois. Disputes over child support as well as child custody battles increase the costs of divorce proceedings, especially when a judge resolves the issues. Divorcing spouses save costs significantly when they are able to settle divorce issues involving children before the case goes to trial.

Alimony – $19,100

Alimony also drives the cost of divorce upwards, in Illinois as well as in every state. Spousal support or spousal maintenance are interchangeable terms for what is known as alimony. In the Land of Lincoln, alimony spurs the costs of divorce to $19,100 on average. Spouses with unequal earning power tend to fight out alimony battles, leading to soaring divorce costs. The purpose of awarding alimony is to allow the lesser-earning spouse to live as comfortably as he or she did during the marriage.

A few situations warranty alimony:

  1. 1. After a long marriage
  2. 2. When one spouse gives up a career to support the working spouse
  3. 3. When a spouse stays at home to raise the couple’s children. The cost of alimony increases due to the necessary involvement of vocational analysts and financial experts.

Child support and alimony are two completely separate entities. Child support is intended to benefit the couple’s minor children, with financial aid going to the spouse who has custody of the children. Alimony is strictly reserved to provide financial assistance to the lesser-earning spouse until he or she becomes self-supporting.

Property Division – $19,400

High-income couples will have a high-cost divorce. The steep rise of costs in a divorce that includes property division occurs when multiple assets are involved. Couples entangled in the dissolution of marriage will zealously safeguard their retirement accounts, savings accounts, cars, brokerage accounts and real estate.

Tax experts, property appraisers, and the financial analyses necessary from legal professionals are sought out to fairly divide the assets between the divorcing parties. A judge who resolves property division matters makes this type of divorce more expensive.

When property division issues achieve resolution out of court, the cost to divorce drops significantly. On average, Illinois divorcees can expect to pay $19,400 in divorces that include property division.

Faults Increase Divorce Costs

Filing for divorce based on fault will ensure the cost of divorce is higher than average. Spouses who claim faults, like impotence, abandonment, infidelity, drug, or alcohol abuse or cruelty will witness the price of their divorce proceedings ascend markedly.

Attorney’s Hourly Rates – $260

Illinois divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee of $260 on average to proceed with the divorce. Spouses’ payments include fees for any paralegals involved, legal staff, court filings, financing the costs of expert witnesses, financial analysts, appraisers and professional child custody evaluations. Those starting on the legal path to divorce can expect to pay the attorney’s hourly rate multiplied by the total number of hours the attorney spends to complete the divorce.

Work with Experienced Attorneys

As intimidating as these costs can be, working with an attorney often proves to be the best option at the end of the day. Especially for complicated situations or if your ex-spouse is working with an attorney, it is highly recommended to work with one yourself.

This way, you will be able to secure your assets and establish an effective solution that works in your best interest. You will also be saving more money by working with an attorney to avoid a large percentage of income sent to your spouse for the remainder of your working years.

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

The family law firm of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. is experienced in helping couples navigate through and complete their divorce. Both contested and uncontested divorces are expertly handled by the divorce lawyers at our Oak Lawn firm. The combined wealth of experience between the divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. totals over 50 years.

The divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are experienced in several aspects of divorce proceedings. Parental responsibilities are included in our services to help win child custody battles. Child support agreements are negotiated as are visitation rights for parents. Our divorce lawyers also help our clients through property division issues, including homes, pets, stock and vehicles, to make sure they walk away with assets to which they are fairly entitled.

Experienced with Divorce Cases

Divorce-Attorneys-Oak-Lawn-IL

It is highly recommended to work with a divorce attorney to establish the best solution for you and your children after a divorce.

We are also experienced in settling for the most favorable level of spousal support or spousal maintenance. When post-decree issues, such as changes in income, marital status or employment, arise after the divorce is finalized, the divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will represent you to ensure your needs are met.

The Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. firm of divorce lawyers offers a detailed case evaluation to spouses on the brink of divorce. Our lawyers are skilled and experienced in divorce practices and knowledgeable in current laws, so that you receive the best representation during your divorce proceedings and even post-divorce.

How to Get Over a Divorce

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Getting 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, anxiety, and even depression 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 yourself will only make everything worse, causing you to lose more than your spouse.

Divorce Doesn’t End Everything

Getting-Through-Divorce

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.

How-to-Get-Through-Divorce

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 it now to get it out of system rather than letting them build up over time.

2. Delete everything of 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 the patience and know that your day is coming.

5. Don’t regret the marriageGetting-Through-Divorce-with-Kids-BKTuckerLaw

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 into a future relationship that can be successful in the long run.

7. Focus on yourselfRediscover-Yourself-After-Divorce

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 divorcedivorce-lawyers-Oak-Lawn-IL

It is common for couples to feel the need to get back together after a breakup. You may even feel it while you’re 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 to 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 towards your new life.

Additional Help for Getting Through a Divorce

Going through a divorce can be one of life’s highest hurtles. 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.Berry-K-Tucker-&-Associates-Ltd-Oak-Lawn-IL

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, 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.

Tips for Filing Divorce in Illinois

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While marriages are meant to last forever, they don’t always do. Each state will have different legal requirements for finalizing a divorce, but this article will highlight the general steps of where to start, how to prepare for your court hearing, and how to finalize it. Just keep in mind that all cases are unique and it would be a good idea to work with an experienced family attorney to guide you through the process. They will be able to address your specific situation and guide you to make the best legal decisions throughout the process.

Preparing for DivorceHow-to-File-for-Divorce-in-Illinois

As mentioned previously, working with an attorney through the divorce can make things a lot easier and will help you fight for what is most important to you. They will be able to foresee specific factors that will affect your case and even know what is favored and disfavored by the judge after working with them in previous cases.

The family attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are experienced in all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody, parental responsibilities (child support), alimony, property division, and more. They will be able to help with you with as much or as little assistance as you need, including the following:

  • Initial consultation
  • Providing legal advice
  • Informing you which laws will apply to your case
  • Guiding you throughout the divorce process

Make Sure You Qualify to File for Divorce

In order to file for divorce in the state of Illinois, you must have lived here for at least six months. You must also adhere to the following:

  • Both parties must agree to the divorce and agree that there is nothing more that can be done to save the marriage, despite making all efforts to solve the problems after 6 months.
  • Live separately from your spouse for at least 2 years if your spouse does not agree to the divorce.

Know the Law, Conditions, and Standards

While your divorce attorney will advise you to read up on the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5, discussing child custody, support, and property division. This document will prepare you for the presumptions and preferences the judge has to make as well as using proper terminology, including:

  • Determine child custody according to the child’s best interest.
  • Determine child support on the number of children under 18 and a percentage of the payer’s net income.
  • Determine the division of property assets, unless you and your spouse have already agreed beforehand.

Select the Court to Process the DivorceSelect-Court-for-Divorce-Hearing-Berry-Tucker

As each county will have its own court system, choosing which one to file will have an impact on the results of your case. If you and your spouse have been living together up until the time of divorce, it is best to pick the court in your own county. Otherwise, file in the county in which your spouse lives to ensure that they will be able to order support from him or her.

Finding and Completing All Forms

While Illinois Legal Aid provides some simple forms to fill out, there are a number of documents to read over and sign. Your divorce attorney can also help with this process, or feel free to use your local self-help center. But it is crucial that you understand the significance of these documents and what you agree to as they outline your future after finalizing the divorce.

Getting Ready to File for DivorcePrepare-All-Documents-When-Filing-for-Divorce-Illinois

After completing all necessary forms for your case, you will need to sign the notary boxes in front of a notary. The courthouses will usually have one on staff or allow a deputy clerk to notarize them. If this is not the case, other approved services include check-cashing services, such as a bank, or your attorney’s office. Just remember to make four copies of each document.

Identify Common Roadblocks

Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, you and your spouse will need to agree to a property settlement. The judge will then determine how to divide the assets and liabilities according to the current situation of each party. These will include any or all of the following:

  • The property neglected by each individual
  • Any previous agreements of each individual
  • All custodial provisions of each child
  • The tax results of the property division
  • The circumstances of each parent, including age, occupation, source and amount of income, employability, employment skills, liabilities, estate, health, and their individual needs.
  • Possible and amount of spousal support or alimony
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The current value of the assets for each spouse
  • Opportunities for each party to have a reasonable income or ability to buy assetsCreate-a-Parenting-Plan-for-Child-Support-IL-Divorce-Attorney

Create a Parenting Plan that Includes Child Support

The best way to get what you want out of the divorce is to come prepared with a parenting plan. This will highlight the parental responsibilities that each of you will have to your children. It also includes visitation times that will work best for both of your schedules.

Of course, don’t forget to include child support, or the percentage of income that must be paid to the other parent, depending on how many children that need support. While the amount will vary according to the economic situation of each parent, common amounts include 20% for one child and 50% for 6 or more children. If relevant circumstances have changed, the court may deviate the percentage according to the current situation of the family.

Filing and Carrying Out the Divorce

As soon as all documents and plans are ready, provide the original copy of each document to the clerk of the court who will hear your case. Be prepared to pay a fee, unless if you are qualified to have it waived. The court clerk will then sign your documents and summons (if needed), return your summons, and stamp your copies of the documents with the filing date if you ask them.

Summoning the Divorce and Serving Your Spouse

Unless if you and your spouse have already made agreements, you will need to serve them the summons. After the clerk signs these papers, make a copy for your records, and send the originals, along with the rest of your documents, to your spouse. Keep in mind that they must receive these within 1 month of having the summons issued to you. If you prefer to avoid contact, you can pay the sheriff to deliver these documents for you. Once all documents have been received by your spouse, they will have 30 days to respond with a written answer.

File for Default if Your Spouse Doesn’t AnswerServing-your-Spouse-Summons-How-to-File-for-Divorce

If you haven’t received an answer in over a month, you can file for a Default Judgment. Just remember that this won’t solve everything, especially if your spouse lives out of the court’s jurisdiction. For example, if the children are in Illinois and the other parent lived in a different state, the judge would be able to change the visitation times or the power of decisions they are allowed to make on your children’s behalf. But they may not be able to issue an order for child support.

Following Through with the Divorce

The first step in preparing for court is gathering evidence and information needed to support your case, known as the discovery phase. You will find the regulations, techniques, and processes regarding discovery in Part E of the Rules on Civil Proceedings in the Trial Court. You will also want to work with your divorce attorney through this phase as they can educate you on what to say and how to make the best legal decisions to help your case.

During the discovery, you will be allowed to require your spouse to:

  • Answer all questions under oath
  • Allow you to inspect items and/or property
  • Provide you with copies of documents regarding the divorce and marriage

Stating DisclosuresPreparing-Your-Case-for-Court-Filing-for-Divorce-IL

When preparing to state your case, make specific disclosures as well as requesting the same from your spouse. These can include lists of witnesses asked to testify, financial complications, relevant evidence, and any other statements your family attorney recommends.

But if these are not disclosed prior to the hearing or your spouse objects to their use, you might not be able to use them during the trial.

Understanding the Rules of Evidence

Ask your attorney about the rules and regulations of evidence and ensure you understand them well.

Mediation

Mediation is always required when children are involved in divorce. Throughout this process, a third party will suggest possible options to help each party settle an agreement for all issues. But the mediator will only provide suggestions, not make decisions, so you won’t need to bring evidence with you. If both parties are able to come to a mutual agreement, then there is no need to go to trial.

  • If both parties have come to an agreement, the mediator will prepare all necessary documents for you and the individual to sign.
  • If you were not able to come to an agreement, matters will then be handled in court.
  • Keep in mind that the mediator will not make any statements to the court, regardless of what was said during mediation.

Scheduling the HearingScheduling-Court-Hearing-Preparation

As this is the most important step of the divorce process, make sure you are prepared with everything, including:

  • Your documents and summons
  • Relevant evidence
  • The estimated duration of the hearing
  • Issuing subpoenas for witnesses
  • Date, time, and location of the hearing
  • The judge who will attend the hearing
  • Confirmation from your divorce attorney

When Attending the HearingCourt-Hearing-How-to-File-for-Divorce

You should be dressed in business professional attire on the date of your hearing. Men should wear suits and women blazers and dress pants or skirt. If you do not have either, dress clean and respectfully, avoiding shorts, tank tops, miniskirts, sagging pants, and flip flops.

When entering the court room, don’t speak with anyone other than your attorney and the judge, and refer to them as “Judge” or “Your Honor.” Whenever it is your turn to speak, stand before doing so. The divorce case will then proceed as any other would, unless under specific circumstances:

  • The petitioner will make their opening statements (a summary of the case and what is to be proven)
  • Opening statements from the respondent
  • All witnesses cross-examined by the respondent and called by the petitioner and vice versa
  • Closing arguments by the petitioner (summary of their wishes and why the hearing should be ruled in their favor)
  • Closing arguments from the respondent
  • Final argument from the petitioner
  • Final ruling from the judge

Reviewing and Adhering to or Appealing a Hearing

After the hearing is finished, the opposed party will usually have to prepare orders, unless if you had already proposed them earlier. But if you do have to prepare them, you can find blank ones on the bench, picking the one that applies to your case, and complete it there.

When you are done, make 2 copies and file the original with the court, sending a copy to the other party and keeping the originals for yourself. As soon as the judge signs the order, you can get a signed copy from the clerk. If at any time you disagree with the ruling, you have about 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal with the Trial Court.

Ask Your Attorney for Extra HelpBerry-K.-Tucker-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-Oak-Lawn-IL

As there are numerous benefits of working with an experienced family attorney, they will be able to help you through all stages of the process. They may be able to complete your documents and summons for you. But regardless of your case, they will best prepare you for mediation or the hearing, including gathering all necessary evidence and information, which questions to ask, and how to answer questions. Ultimately, they will guide you to make legal decisions that will work in your best interest.

If you live in the southern suburbs or parts of Chicago, contact Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our family attorneys not only have years of experience but have worked in unique situations that will help you through any and all complications of your divorce. They also remain updated on all current law in order to educate you and argue why the hearing should rule in your favor.

Don’t hesitate to contact them at (708) 425-9530 in Oak Lawn, IL.

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