When you are at the end of your marriage, you may feel overwhelmed or unsure of where to start. The first place to start may be speaking with a New Lenox lawyer about your divorce.

A well-versed divorce lawyer can advise you of the best way to prepare your family for a future without your spouse. The diligent attorneys at Reidy Law Office LLC can guide you through the divorce process to help you reach an agreement that works for you.

Requirements for Filing for Divorce

Married couples may file for divorce in Illinois if at least one spouse has lived in the state for 90 days before the petition for dissolution of marriage. Illinois no longer requires a married couple to live separately for a certain period before filing for divorce or before granting a divorce. Without a waiting period, a judge may approve a divorce as soon as the parties finalize their settlement agreement. There are specific rules in each county. For example, in Will County you cannot finalize your divorce for 30 days after the Respondent files his Appearance. It is important to have an attorney help you to understand your local rules.

The petitioner who files for divorce may ask the court for several forms of relief, which may include temporary orders for support or child custody, or could suggest a plan for the division of marital property. The person responding to the petition (Known as the Respondent) must file an answer within 30 days of being served with the papers. If the respondent fails to file an answer, the judge could grant a default judgment and award the petitioner everything they requested in their initial petition.

Parties whose marriage produced children will have additional requirements before a judge can approve their divorce. Parents must create a parenting plan that follows Illinois law, protects the best interests of the children, and provides for their financial support. Parents may also be ordered to take educational classes on the effects that a divorce may have on children.

Issues in a New Lenox Case

Every divorce case has its own complexities. However, there are three central issues that frequently make up the bulk of the negotiations in a divorce. These are the care of your children, the division of property, and financial support payments.

Support Payments

When one spouse was financially dependent on the other during the marriage, a judge may decide that spousal support payments are necessary to help the dependent spouse become self-sufficient. When a judge finds that alimony is appropriate, the more financially secure spouse could be ordered to pay money to the other for a certain period based on the length of the marriage.

Dividing the Marital Estate

Every debt and asset that a married couple takes on together becomes part of the marital estate and must be distributed as part of the divorce case. The only property that is not part of the marital estate is assets or debts that a person owned before marriage, or received as an individual gift, inheritance, or settlement during the marriage. Anything else is included in the marital estate and is subject to division.

Parenting Time and Parental Responsibility

Illinois law refers to the allocation of parental responsibility rather than child custody. Regardless of the terminology, a judge must approve a parenting plan or custody agreement before granting the divorce. Parents will need to determine whether they will share parental responsibilities equally, or if one person will care for the children for the majority of the time. The person who shares parenting time and is not the primary custodial parent will often be obligated to pay child support to the other parent.

Get Help with Your Divorce from a New Lenox Attorney

Divorce is never easy. If you are considering filing for divorce, or if you were served with a petition for dissolution of marriage, it is important to take steps to protect your rights. Take the first step by calling our TRIBE. We can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process. Call today.