We welcome your questions. Here are some of the common questions we are asked. Please contact us so that we may better address your particular circumstances.
Your attorney will meet with you to determine whether the best path to achieve your divorce is through litigation, mediation or the collaborative law process. At some point, the parties’ income, assets, expenses and liabilities will be identified. This will be done either voluntarily or through the “discovery” process. The matter will then either be resolved through negotiation, where a Marital Settlement Agreement will be drafted (resolving all economic issues) and, if applicable, an Allocation Judgment will be drafted [resolving all parenting issues including allocation of significant decision-making authority (formerly custody issues) and parenting time (formerly visitation)] or there will be a trial where the judge assigned to the case decides all contested issues.
There are two components to the divorce timeframe. Since the matter must be approved by a judge, it is a matter of getting on the court’s docket or court call. More significantly, the time is largely determined by the time it may takes to reach an agreement and, if no agreement is reached, the time necessary to prepare the case for trial.
Matters that may complicate a divorce and therefore tend to increase the cost include the value and “classification” (whether the property is marital or nonmarital) of property; issues relating to the children, including decision-making authority (former custody) and parenting time (formerly visitation), determination of the parties’ incomes and the division of the parties’ debts.
Some of the terminology has changed based on amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Some of the terms include:
- Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (formerly Custody)
- Parenting Time (formerly Visitation)
- Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (formerly Divorce Decree)
- Maintenance (formerly Alimony or Spousal Support or Spousal Maintenance)
Depending on the total gross incomes of the parties and other factors, a formula that judges use as a guideline in determining how much money one spouse is to pay to the other may apply.
Maybe. In any divorce case in Illinois, if the case is settled without a trial, the Marital Settlement Agreement and Allocation Judgment (formerly Custody Judgment), as applicable, still must be approved by the Court. The petitioner (the person who initiated the divorce proceeding) would have to appear at least once – at the final hearing. If there are interim or temporary financial or parenting issues which are contested, such as payment of household expenses or what time each parent is to spend with the children, both parties would need to be present. Both parties would appear at a trial if one is necessary.
A mediated divorce is one in which the separating parties work out their own divorce settlement with the help of an independent, neutral third party, called a mediator.
Collaborative law, also known as collaborative practice, divorce or family law is a legal process enabling couples who have decided to end their marriage to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of litigation. It should not be confused with simply being “collaborative.”
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement without going to trial. This does not mean there are no arguments or disputes between the spouses. It simply means the spouses reach an agreement without going to court and having a judge resolve contested issues.
Mr Pinsel is authorized to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. Much of his divorce law work is in the Third Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois. The Circuit Court of Cook County's Third Municipal District is made up of the following municipalities in the north western suburbs of Cook County: The municipalities of: Arlington Heights; Barrington*; Barrington Hills*; Bartlett*; Bensenville*; Buffalo Grove*; East Dundee*; Elgin*; Elk Grove Village*; Hanover Park*; Harwood Heights; Hoffman Estates*; Inverness; Mount Prospect; Norridge; Palatine; Prospect Heights; Rolling Meadows; Roselle*; Rosemont; Schaumburg*; Schiller Park; South Barrington; Streamwood; and Wheeling; The townships of Barrington, Elk Grove, Hanover, Palatine and Schaumburg, that part of the Township of Leyden within the territorial limits of the municipalities of Rosemont and Schiller Park, that part of the Township of Maine within the territorial limits of the municipality of Rosemont, that part of the Township of Northfield within the territorial limits of the municipality of Prospect Heights, Wheeling, excluding that part of the Township of Wheeling within the territorial limits of the municipality of Des Plaines, Norwood Park, excluding that part of the Township of Norwood Park within the territorial limits of the City of Chicago. *jurisdiction limited to geographic area within Cook County