Contested & Uncontested Divorce
Divorce is the process of ending a marriage or civil union. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to a settlement and submit their terms to a court for approval. In a contested divorce both parties do not agree to each other’s terms and prepare a legal argument for the court to make a determination. For both types of divorce there are legal consequences that can affect your property, finances, and most importantly, family.
Dissolution of Marriage is the same as divorce. Many courts only refer to the process as dissolution of marriage, which can be either contested or uncontested.
Child Custody and Visitation
Ending a marriage is already difficult. When you’re a parent the stakes and emotions are high. Navigating parental rights for custody and visitation can be challenging so having an experienced attorney is extremely important. We specialize in making the process as quick and simple as possible to ensure your rights are protected and minimize the effect on your loved ones. Illinois has disfavored the use of the word “custody”. This concept is now referred to by Courts as the allocation of parenting time and responsibility. Allocation of parenting responsibility generally refers to decision making relative to four major areas: education, medical, extracurricular and religious decision making for the children.
Child & Spousal Support
One of the most important details to review during a divorce or dissolution is financial support for you or your children. No one should be left wondering how they’re going to afford their lives and take care of their loved ones. Child and spousal support are complex and depend on a variety of factors. With an attorney on your side you can be assured you’ll have a fair and clear understanding of your financial future as you enter your new life.
Shared parenting, is when the parents share parenting time with each parent having at least 40% of the parenting time with the children. Decision making authority is a separate issue from parenting time. Parenting is one of the principal aspects to consider and we will make absolutely sure that the outcome is what’s not only best for your needs but also the needs of your children.
The Court will allocate parenting time and which parent has the authority to make decisions regarding the healthcare, education, religion and extracurricular activities of the children. The Court may award one or both parents the responsibility for making decisions regarding these four major areas, which is wholly unrelated to whom the children spend the majority of their time with.
Many parents are making efforts to maximize the time the child or children spend with each parent and are agreeing to divide parenting time on an equal basis, which is share parenting. Their determination of child support takes into consideration the amount of parenting time that each parent has.
Division of Marital Assets
Marital assets or property include all assets and debts you have acquired during your marriage, except for some specific exceptions. In Illinois, each spouse has the right to the equitable distribution of all marital property, which does not necessarily always mean equal shares. Both parties are entitled to an equitable share of marital property. In determining what is equitable, the court will consider each parties' non-marital estate, in addition to the value of the marital estate. Let us help you understand your assets and what you’re entitled to.
Sometimes divorce or dissolution isn’t the best option for financial or religious reasons. In a legal separation, both spouses remain married but live apart. Many couples find this to be a better route when a party needs to stay on a health insurance plan provided by the other party. Separations can be just as complicated as divorce with property allocation, spousal support, and child custody issues still at the forefront. Engaging an attorney is always recommended to help you understand your rights.
Premarital agreements or “prenups” are sometimes looked at as insurance. Sometimes it is best to determine the rights and responsibilities of each party in divorce, or the death of their spouse, when the parties are anticipating their marriage, rather than waiting until one of these stressful events occurs. In many cases, one or both parties have accumulated assets over the years and want to protect them in case of divorce or anticipate an inheritance. Both parties may feel better knowing they will be protected financially with spousal support or a division of property if the worst were to happen. Don’t be afraid to inquire about these agreements which are more and more common today.