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Wheaton divorce attorneysOne of the first questions that divorcing parties ask is how long the process will take. Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one, especially since there are so many variables involved. For example, a contentious divorce is likely to take far longer than an amicable one. Still, there are some generalizations that can give you an idea as to how long the process might take for you and your spouse. Learn more in the following sections, including how a seasoned divorce attorney may be able to take steps to expedite your Illinois divorce. 

Method of Divorce Can Affect the Duration of Your Case

Couples used to have to go through court for a divorce, but the process is both long and costly. As such, the system has added new avenues for divorce. For example, a couple may choose to mediate their divorce instead of going to litigation. Alternatively, they may use their attorneys to work out a negotiated settlement, or they may seek out arbitration. All of these avenues typically take less time than a litigated divorce, and they are usually less expensive. 

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, foreclosure during divorceAs if going through divorce proceedings is not stressful enough, you may also be receiving threats of foreclosure by a financial institution that holds the mortgage on your home. This type of “insult to injury” situation is actually relatively common, so you do have options to address foreclosure proceedings under state law.

The key is to join forces with your partner as much as possible, stay in close communication with the lender, and work with an Illinois divorce attorney to ensure protection of your interests—both in the divorce case and through the foreclosure process.

Temporary Injunction

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DuPage County family law attorney, Illinois divorce caseWhen a couple decides to divorce, several steps are taken to begin the process. After the initial consultation with an Illinois divorce lawyer, your attorney will get to work on gathering information and filing the proper forms for your case. Research on property division, issues involving children, and potential strategies for spousal support will also be conducted. Additionally, your attorney will be touch with you about the work behind the scenes, which will include appearances in court. You may wonder what these hearings are about, since your case is not yet proceeding to trial. These court appearances are a necessary part of the process, so it is important to understand what is going on and what to expect.

Status Hearings 

Court appearances are scheduled by the judge to see where certain factors stand on divorce proceedings. Your attorney will attend to offer a report on whether there has been settlement on property distribution and/or spousal support, and if you and your spouse have come to an agreement on allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. If discovery and depositions are necessary to investigate and resolve certain outstanding issues, your attorney will update the judge.

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DuPage County divorce attorney, Illinois divorceThe most common reason for not hiring a lawyer to assist with divorce in Illinois isn not surprising: Many spouses believe they cannot afford legal representation, so they decide to go it alone. You may agree with this position yourself, thinking you can rely on the Internet for assistance with the process. However, attempting to represent yourself in divorce without a legal background is a mistake—similar to trying to fix your car without mechanical training.

Trying to save money on legal representation will likely cost you more in the long run. Hence, you should work with an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer to represent you.

Knowledge of the Law

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, attorney feesMost divorcing spouses simply want the divorce to be over as soon as possible. Oftentimes a couple will work together to move the divorce forward and finalize the divorce. In some cases, however, a spouse may ask that the court award attorney’s fees to help cover the cost of the divorce.

While it is rare, it is possible that a court may decide to award one party attorney fees. This can be good news for a spouse if he or she does not have a significant amount of money and needs assistance funding his or her legal costs.

Can a Court Award Attorney’s Fees?

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney, default judgmentUnderstanding divorce and the associated timeline can be confusing. However, it is important that you respond to request from the court and show up for court when you have a hearing. If you do not appear at hearing related to your divorce, it is possible that a court may decide to enter a default judgment against you in the divorce proceedings. When the court enters a default judgment, this means that the court has decided that you did not properly respond or participate in your divorce proceedings. If the court believes you have not properly responded, the court will make a judgment in favor of your spouse.

Once a court enters a default judgment entered against you in your divorce, you need to respond quickly. There is still time to protect your rights and interests that were not addressed by the judgment. It may even be possible to have your default judgment vacated. However, whether this is possible depend on the reason you were not able to appear in court.

Vacating a Default Judgment

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DuPage County family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawToday, in Illinois family courts, the divorce process is governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“Act”), which was passed in 1977. Society was different back then, and the Act was created to address the many issues families were facing. Today, however, the landscape of society has changed and families have several new needs that the Act can no longer satisfy.

In order to get divorced under the current statutory scheme, you have to identify a specific ground that provides for the dissolution of marriage or you must have been separated from your spouse for at least 24 months. There are many grounds for divorce in Illinois, some of which include adultery, cruelty (mental/physical), drunkenness, and irreconcilable differences. In certain instances, people desiring divorce have used these grounds to obtain an unfair advantage over the other spouse when it came to child custody or alimony, among others.

Senate Bill 57 and its Changes to Divorce Proceedings

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living apart, Illinois family law attorneyIn Illinois, a divorce marks the legal end of a marriage. Both former spouses are able to marry others. During divorce proceedings, a court can decide on issues such as custody, visitation, and support of children, as well as how to divide marital property and whether one spouse must pay alimony to the other.

On the other hand, a legal separation is not the end of a marriage. Spouses are not free to marry others, but a court can issue an order regarding child custody, visitation, and support, as well as alimony. The marital property of a separated couple cannot be divided by a court, unless both parties agree to have a judge decide how shared property should be distributed. Many couples opt for a legal separation if they know that they cannot live with each other, but are not ready to take the step of filing for divorce.

Legal separation is different than just living apart. If spouses are living apart, but have not gotten a judge involved by filing for separation, issues of child or spousal support will not be decided, unless you both agree on a course of action.

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spousal support payments, Illinois divorce attorneyIf you are currently making spousal support payments, filing for bankruptcy does not terminate your obligation. Unlike credit card debt and mortgage payments, which may be put on hold or eliminated completely through bankruptcy, your responsibility to provide for your former spouse and your children remains in place regardless of your financial circumstances.

However, you may be able to have your required payment amount reduced to accommodate your altered means. If you need to have your alimony requirement altered, speak with a trusted divorce attorney about how to complete the modification process.

Filing for Bankruptcy with an Alimony Requirement

If your personal debt reaches the point where it is so great that you can not meet your repayment obligations, you may be able to file for bankruptcy. Individuals with outstanding personal debt are eligible to file for two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

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Posted on in Divorce

discovery processIf you are currently involved in a divorce or know anyone going through the same process, you have likely heard of the term “discovery.” If it is your own divorce, you may be growing to hate the discovery process. This post seeks to break down the basics of discovery, outlining what you need to know and how it can greatly benefit your case.

What Is It?

The term discovery is used across nearly every area of law, but in divorce proceedings it refers to the process by which both sides of the divorce gather information about the other side. Discovery is a key component in any litigation, but is absolutely essential in any case where assets, property division, child support or maintenance is at issue.

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divorce social mediaSocial media currently plays a major role in our society. More and more people of all ages are signing up for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media websites. Many people increasingly turn to social media during their divorce to voice their feelings, meet new people, or in hopes of gaining support from loved ones. As much as you may enjoy using Facebook or another preferred social media platform, it is important to understand that certain actions on social media websites may be used against you during your divorce.

The Reality

As strange as it may seem, there may be people actively searching your social media accounts in an attempt to dig up information to use against you in your divorce case. A study a few years back stated that Facebook was the biggest source of social media evidence to use during divorce cases at the time. Although your spouse’s attorney may not be actively searching the web for your accounts, mutual friends, your ex’s family members, or often times your ex may be doing just that.

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same-sex marriageWith the legality of same sex-marriages changing in many states across the country, legal issues involving the status change are sure to arise. Since this is a relatively new social change in society, it may take a while for the law to catch up and apply appropriately to many situations involving same-sex marriages. A recent article discussed the fact that divorce laws in many states have yet to keep up with the changing definition of marriage that is being accepted in many states.

Different Laws in Different States

One common problem that arises for same-sex couples who decide to marry presents itself where the couple has a marriage ceremony in a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage, but reside in another state, where they may later seek to divorce. An issue comes up if the state in which the couple seeks a divorce does not recognize same-sex marriage to begin with. Cases like this can potentially present many legal obstacles. If the state in which the couple lives does not recognize same-sex marriage, they would most likely lack any jurisdiction to void the marriage, something many judges in such states are reportedly deciding.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce mistakesMost people are at risk of making at least a few mistakes throughout the process of divorce. Of course, having an experienced divorce attorney as legal representation goes a long way in avoiding such errors and ensuring a smooth process along the way. A Chicago Tribune article from a few years ago discusses the most common mistakes made by men in divorce cases, as witnessed by a divorce attorney. While the article is gender-specific, it is important to note that these mistakes can easily be equally attributable to men or women and should be avoided by any party in a divorce case.

Ten Mistakes

It is wise for members of both sexes involved in divorce proceedings to not only be aware of these commonly made mistakes, but to take steps to avoid them, ideally with the help if an attorney who is experienced in divorce cases.

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