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Family Law FAQs 

Goldstein Law Office March 22, 2023

Navigating the legal system regarding family law matters can become a complicated matter. That is why getting the right legal counsel can facilitate protecting your family’s rights. From the Goldstein Law Office, I proudly offer my experience and knowledge to help you protect the ones you love most. Working hard to protect families’ rights, I proudly serve people in Lake County and Cook County, Illinois, including Antioch, Deerfield, Highland Park, Lake Forest, North Chicago, and Waukegan. Reach out today to schedule a consultation directly with me. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Family Law in Illinois 

On the whole, family matters such as child custody issues can be solved out of court. According to some estimates, as many as 9 out of 10 cases are settled without a trial. This situation is possible thanks to the intervention of savvy and experienced attorneys. You may have many similar questions, and I’m prepared to guide you toward those answers. 

I just got served with divorce papers. What are my next steps? 

When getting served with divorce papers, the following steps are advisable: 

  • Ensure you understand the papers’ contents and the reasons for the divorce. This precaution will help you prepare for the legal process ahead. 

  • It’s important to have legal representation during a divorce, especially if you have significant assets or children. 

  • You must respond to the divorce papers within a certain period (usually 20-30 days) to avoid default. Your response will outline your position and may include counterclaims or requests for temporary orders. 

  • You must provide financial information to your spouse or the court, so start gathering documents like tax returns, bank statements, and investment records. 

How long will it take to get divorced in Illinois? 

Illinois has a mandatory waiting period of at least six months from the date of filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage before a divorce can be finalized. This condition means that even if the parties agree on all issues, the divorce cannot be granted until at least six months after the petition was filed. If the case goes to trial, it may take several months or even a year or more to get a final decision. 

What are the grounds for divorce in Illinois? 

In Illinois, a spouse can file for divorce based on either fault or no-fault grounds. The no-fault ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences,” meaning the marriage has broken down and cannot be saved. This reason is the most common ground for divorce in Illinois. 

Illinois recognizes several fault-based grounds for divorce, including: 

  • Adultery 

  • Mental cruelty 

  • Physical cruelty 

  • Desertion 

  • Substance abuse and addiction 

Will I be awarded alimony? 

Whether or not you will be awarded alimony in Illinois will depend on several factors, including: 

  • The income and earning capacity of both spouses; 

  • The length of the marriage; 

  • The standard of living during the marriage; and, 

  • The age and health of the spouses. 

Please keep in mind that the court may consider any other factors it deems relevant in determining whether to award alimony, such as the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, the needs of any children, and the financial resources of each spouse. 

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce? 

The key difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that a legal separation does not dissolve the marriage. This situation means that the couple cannot remarry unless they obtain a divorce. Additionally, a legal separation is often pursued for religious or personal reasons. At the same time, a divorce is the only option for those wishing to legally terminate their marriage. 

When is mediation a good option? 

Mediation is a good option when the parties want to avoid a costly and time-consuming court battle. Also, mediation is a good option when the parties want to preserve relationships and promote a cooperative and respectful environment for future interactions. 

Do I need an attorney for my divorce? 

While it is possible to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding, hiring an attorney to represent you is highly recommended. The following reasons emphasize the importance of professional legal counsel: 

  • An experienced family law attorney can provide you with a thorough understanding of the legal process and your rights and obligations under the law. 

  • A trusted attorney can help you make informed decisions and provide a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. 

  • Divorce proceedings involve complex court procedures and rules, and an attorney can help ensure you comply with all the requirements and deadlines. 

  • A skilled family law attorney can negotiate with the other party’s attorney to reach a fair settlement that meets your needs and interests. 

  • Representing yourself in a divorce proceeding can be risky, as it’s easy to make mistakes that can be costly and difficult to correct. An attorney can help you avoid these mistakes and handle your case properly. 

Who gets to keep the home during a divorce? 

In Illinois, the courts follow the principle of equitable distribution when dividing property during a divorce. This principle means that marital property, including the marital home, will be divided in a manner that is fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal. 

Courts generally consider the following aspects: 

  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or increase in value of the marital property, including the marital home 

  • The value of the property assigned to each party 

  • The duration of the marriage 

  • The economic circumstances of each party, including their income, earning capacity, and financial needs 

  • Any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party 

  • Any relevant agreements between the parties such as a prenuptial agreement 

In some cases, the court may award the marital home to one spouse and require them to buy out the other spouse's interest in the property. In other cases, the court may order that the home be sold and the proceeds divided between the parties. 

Turn to Reliable Legal Advice 

The Goldstein Law Office puts families first. Talk to a professional family law attorney who’s got your family’s best interest at heart. Don’t delay. Protect your family today, and reach out to schedule a meeting with me.

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