There are so many issues and decisions to make during a divorce that one person cannot make an informed decision without consultation. If children are part of the marriage, the issues can get even greater and more complicated. Below are a few issues that can be made easier with a divorce attorney.
Reason for Divorce
In Illinois you must plead a reason for divorce. Under Illinois law, the possible reasons for divorce include:
- Gross and confirmed habits from drug use (for a period of more than two years);
- Continual drunkenness (for a period of more than two years);
- Felony conviction;
- Physical and mental abuse;
- Infection by spouse of a sexually transmitted disease; and/or
- Irreconcilable differences.
If filing on irreconcilable differences, the separation period must be two years. However, with proper documentation, you can reduce the necessary separation period to only six months. A divorce attorney will be able to properly secure the documentation necessary for a fault-based divorce or a divorce on irreconcilable differences. Without a divorce attorney, it may be difficult to understand all information necessary for your divorce.
When approaching a divorce, it is important to understand that the judge is not required to divide marital property 50/50 between the parties. However, even before the judge can divide your property, the judge needs to hear evidence as to what is marital property. Property owned before marriage is not considered marital property. The difficulty comes when property increases in value or is upgraded during marriage; if one of these circumstances arise, a portion of this property may then be considered marital.
Additionally, if you have retirement funds, a specific Qualified Domestic Relations Order could be required to transfer funds. Each company has its own language that is required for these orders. If the orders are not as the company specifies, the company will reject the order and a new order will be required. A divorce attorney can properly advise you on marital property and draft the property orders for retirement funds.
Getting a divorce when you have children can be even more difficult. You have to think about issues of custody and support as well. You need to make decisions that are in the best interests of your child, but what are those? An attorney can help you explain to the judge what you believe are the best interests of your child. Additionally, the judge has the right to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem or an attorney for your child. You need to know the differences between these court appointees and why or why not to ask the judge for one.
Child support is another huge issue. The Illinois court awards child support based on net income. You need to understand what deductions are proper for child support in order to get the correct amount. Additionally, child support is modifiable and an attorney can let you know what the proper circumstances are to modify support.
Lastly, during a divorce you need to consider college expenses for your children. Illinois is one of the only states in which a court can order parents to pay for college tuition, room and board, books, and medical expenses. It is important to reserve these rights for your children.
These issues and more can arise during a divorce. The best way to proceed and make sure you get everything you and your children are entitled to is to hire a qualified attorney. Our experienced Illinois divorce attorneys at the Abear Law Offices can help you navigate your divorce. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.