Family Law FAQs

Do I need to hire an attorney to get a divorce?

Illinois state law does not require people to have legal representation to accomplish a divorce, but it is often highly recommended that a person consider hiring a lawyer simply because most people are not familiar with the rules of their local courts. There can also be a number of contested issues that can require experienced legal counsel.

What are the possible grounds for divorce in Illinois?

Irreconcilable differences is the only ground for divorce courts in Illinois will recognize. Under 750 Illinois Compiled Statute (ILCS) § 5/401, irreconcilable differences must have caused the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed or future attempts will be impracticable and not in the best interests of a family. Spouses must live separately and apart for six months to satisfy the requirement of irreconcilable differences. In effect, this means that all divorces in Illinois are “no fault” divorces, meaning no extra considerations will be afforded to a spouse because of certain behaviors.

Does it matter which spouse files for divorce first?

While some legal experts believe that filing first can give one party an upper hand in court proceedings, the truth is that the difference between filing first and not is generally pretty minimal.

How much will my divorce cost?

This is always one of the most important questions people can ask and it can also be a difficult question to ask. The truth is that there is no hard and fast rule or set of parameters relating to legal fees in a divorce case because so many things can complicate the fees that an attorney will charge. Your case might or might not involve certain filing fees or other court costs. There can also be the matter of how complex and difficult it will be to resolve your divorce case. You need to speak to a lawyer about the specific concerns of your case to get a better estimate.

How long will a divorce take?

Another very common question concerns the general timing of a case and how long a person can expect their case to take to reach a resolution. The particularities of a case will again determine the answer here, as some people can finalize a divorce within 30 days of filing but others will need several years. 

Does Illinois divide property 50/50?

No. Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state, which means that property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Illinois state law dictates that the 12 factors used to divide property include the amount each party contributed to the marital estate, the dissipation of each party, the value of assigned property, the length of the marriage, relevant economic circumstances, prior marriages, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, each party’s statuses, parental responsibilities, maintenance awards, earning potential, and taxes.

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

When two parties finalize a divorce, an Illinois court will dissolve the duties and obligations of each party to one another. When two spouses legally separate, they will remain legally married while no longer living together.

Can my spouse and I both hire the same attorney?

No. Illinois state law forbids one lawyer from representing both parties in a divorce. It is highly unethical for any attorney to try and represent both sides in a divorce.

Is spousal maintenance required?

Illinois does not make maintenance awards mandatory in divorce cases, so these awards are generally most common in cases in which spouses signed prenuptial or postnuptial agreements establishing maintenance provisions. A spouse is certainly permitted to seek a maintenance award, but they will have to prove that they have issues with employment or costs of living justifying such an award.

Will my spouse’s infidelity be a factor in my divorce?

Probably not unless they are now living with their new partner. Most divorce considerations in Illinois will not take the actions of a spouse into account, but there are exceptions in cases of child custody in which courts could express concern about the parties that spouses are sharing residences with.

Am I allowed to move out of state with our child?

Probably not, but there are certain exceptions in some cases. Illinois law generally forbids parents from moving a considerable distance from another parent, as parents are free to move anywhere in Illinois without court or parental approval. If a person wants to move out of state, however, they will need to get the permission of the court and the other parent. Illinois allows a parent residing in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, or Will County to move with a child to another residence within Illinois up to 25 miles away from the previous home, a parent living outside of those counties can move with a child to a new residence within Illinois up to 50 miles away from the previous home, or a parent living near the Illinois border can move with a child into a different state up to 25 miles away from their previous home.

Am I allowed to date during a divorce?

Your dating life should generally have no impact on your divorce case, but a new partner who begins living with you could impact certain child custody decisions. You will certainly want to ensure that a new partner will not give your former spouse any cause for concern because it could lead to future court issues in some cases.

What is the true up clause in Illinois divorce?

A marital settlement agreement may contain a true up clause when the income of one spouse is expected to fluctuate. Under a true up clause, both spouses will exchange a variety of financial documents every year, including tax documents, 1099s, W2s, and K-1s. It can be very complicated for a person to determine what they are owed even under a true up agreement, so it is highly recommended that people retain legal counsel for help reviewing all relevant paperwork and knowing exactly what each party owes.

Contact Our Schaumburg Family Law Attorneys

At the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., we know that each case is unique. That is why we use a different approach to meet the needs of every client. We truly care about our clients, and we automatically tailor our services to achieve effective positive results. With our experienced attorneys, you can expect to get highly personalized, responsive, and accessible representation.

Contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., today at (847) 241-1299 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys in Schaumburg & Chicago. We will take the time necessary to evaluate your legal options and help you understand your position.

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