Because of their complex nature, many divorce matters may involve conflicts between multiple parties and multifaceted issues that need to be resolved. A compassionate Joliet divorce lawyer experienced in family law could help you and your family understand your rights and obligations to make navigating this process as easy as possible. Our family attorneys may be able to guide you through this process.

The Basics of Divorce in Illinois

The three parts of every divorce are the Petition for Dissolution and Notice, the Discovery, and the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. A divorce typically begins with one spouse, the petitioner, filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. Notice is accomplished by serving a summons and the petition to the other spouse or the other spouse could waive service of summons by voluntarily filing an Appearance with the Clerk of Court. Discovery is the next part of all divorces. This is your opportunity to find out as much or as little as you could find out about your spouse’s assets, liabilities, or other relevant information. If you and your spouse do not agree upon important issues early in the process, you will likely participate in temporary motions to determine interim custody, parenting time, and/or financial issues. A court may try to maintain a “status quo” situation as discovery is issued and gathered. If you and your spouse agree on major issues, you may be able to move directly to a written agreement. Every divorce ends with a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, which may be entered by agreement (called a “prove-up”) or by trial, which could mean the judge decides all of the contested issues.

Dividing Assets in a Divorce

In Illinois, family law courts divide marital property under an equitable distribution scheme during a dissolution of marriage. As a divorce lawyer in Joliet could explain, “equitable” property division may not necessarily mean “equal”. The court may allocate property “fairly” between both spouses based upon the circumstances.

Courts might consider a number of factors when dividing the marital estate, which may include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • Current income and future earning power of each spouse
  • The value of various financial assets, including retirement accounts, business interests, and investments
  • Financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage by each spouse
  • Future financial needs
  • Terms of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, if applicable
  • Amount of alimony awarded

Parental and Spousal Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities, including custody and child support, are another important consideration in the Illinois divorce process. Court orders that relate to children must be “in the best interests of the child(ren).” Child support is highly regulated and is based on a formula that takes several factors into account, including each parent’s income.

Under Illinois law, alimony or spousal support is called “maintenance.” Spousal maintenance is not mandatory; The judge could alternatively consider a variety of factors before determining if it is appropriate. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on spousal maintenance, the court may determine an award based on factors like financial need, gross income, and the potential for the party receiving maintenance to become self-supporting. An experienced Joliet divorce lawyer could help you negotiate your parental rights in a divorce case.

Our Joliet Divorce Attorneys Could Help You

If you are looking to divorce, call an experienced Joliet divorce lawyer to help you. Our dedicated team of attorneys could help you navigate the legal system, resolve conflicts, negotiate effectively, and fiercely litigate on your behalf in all aspects of your divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.