Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start a divorce?
Prior to filing a divorce, you should consult with a lawyer to determine your rights and discuss how to proceed based upon the specifics of your situation. A lawyer can also discuss with you what documents you will need, current trends for division of assets and debt in your county and possibly outcomes.
Do I need a lawyer for my divorce?
You are not required to have a lawyer for a divorce. However, most people will benefit from receiving legal counsel prior to and during their divorce. I offer a variety of services that can help you prepare for a divorce, limited scope representation, full representation, and post-decree support after your divorce.
What do I need to file to start my divorce?
In Lake County, you need to electronically file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Clerk of the Circuit Court to start a divorce. There is a specific format that must be filed for this Petition in Illinois. The filing fee for this Petition is determined by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
What are the grounds for divorce in Illinois?
Illinois is a no-fault state and the only ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences. Illinois does not require a waiting period prior to filing or concluding a divorce if the grounds are met.
Can we use the same lawyer?
In Illinois, the same lawyer cannot represent both parties to a divorce. A lawyer retained by one party cannot give the other side legal advice. If both parties agree to a divorce and agree on the division of assets and debts, one side can retain counsel to prepare the necessary documents and the other party can retain their own counsel or represent themselves pro se.
What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?
A divorce is considered uncontested if both sides agree upon the division of their property and debt. Even in an uncontested case if you own your home, have retirement accounts or joint debt, you will likely need the assistance of a lawyer to prepare your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage to make these agreements legally binding and finalize the divorce. Uncontested divorces can be finalized in as little as a few weeks. A contested divorce is a divorce where the spouses are not in agreement with how to divide their marital estate or how to share time with their children. A contested divorce does not automatically equal a contentious divorce. It is quite common to have a disagreement about how to divide an account or pay an expense during a divorce. Negotiations occur in and out of court to attempt to resolve these differences. In Lake County, most divorces do not go to trial.
If we have children, can our divorce still be uncontested?
Yes. If you and your spouse agree upon who will be responsible for making decisions in the areas of education, healthcare, religion and extracurricular activities and agree upon how parenting time/visitation will be divided, an Allocation Judgment can be prepared to reflect your agreements.
How long will my divorce take?
Just as each family is different, so is each divorce. How long the divorce takes will depend on the issues at hand, including cooperation between the spouses. Uncontested cases can be completed in a matter of weeks; however, a highly contested matter can take a year or longer.
I’m divorced, now what?
It can be stressful getting to the point of finalization of your divorce. Do not just file away your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. It is highly likely your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage contains specific deadlines for you to complete tasks, such as closing bank accounts or transferring retirement assets. Make sure you understand your final documents and know what you need to do. Questions regarding what the language means or feeling overwhelmed about taking this next step? Contact me to discuss my post-divorce consulting services.
Can I start the divorce process without filing?
Yes. Mediators are available to work with you and your spouse before, during and after a divorce. Mediation can be started prior to filing a divorce case or it can be ordered by the court. There are many advantages to participating in mediation. To learn more about the mediation services offered by my office, please contact me.
Do I have to take a parenting class?
Yes, if your case is in Lake County, Illinois. You must take the class offered through the College of Lake County. The registration form can be found here: http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/DocumentCenter/View/2259/familyparenting_registrationform
How is child support calculated?
In Illinois, child support is calculated based on the incomes of both parents and the amount of parenting time awarded to each parent. Having equal (50/50) parenting time does not mean a parent will not be ordered to pay child support.
19th Judicial Circuit
Clerk of the Circuit Court Lake County Court Forms
Lake County Bar Association
Association of Women Attorneys of Lake County
Illinois State Bar Association
Lake County Clerk of the Circuit Court Public Access System
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