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Illinois Divorce FAQs

Naperville IL divorce FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in DuPage County

Q. Who can file for a divorce in Illinois?

A. If you wish to initiate a divorce proceeding in Illinois, either you or your spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days, even if one of you has moved away. Your case should be filed in the county where either you or your spouse lives, but limited exceptions may apply.

Q. What is a "no-fault" divorce?

A. Several years ago, Illinois eliminated all fault grounds for divorce, including adultery, abuse, and abandonment. Today, all divorces in the state are considered to be "no-fault" and are issued on the basis that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. "No-fault" means that no extra considerations are afforded to one spouse as the result of the other spouse's behavior.

Q. Do I need to move out before I can file for divorce?

A. No. Illinois law does not require spouses to live apart prior to or even during divorce proceedings. While it is common for one spouse to move out of the shared home, you do not need to do so. If you do move out for at least six months, the court will accept the separation as irrebuttable proof that the marriage is beyond repair, even if your spouse does not agree to the divorce.

Q. Why do I need a divorce lawyer?

A. Under Illinois law, you are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce. Trying to do it on your own, however, is not advisable. A lawyer's job is to protect you by helping you avoid errors and ensure that your rights are not compromised during the process.

Q. Will I have to pay spousal maintenance?

A. Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed in an Illinois divorce. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your spouse, you will probably be required to follow its terms regarding maintenance. If not, the court will determine if there is a need for support based on many factors, including each spouse's age, income, and employability, and the standard of living you enjoyed during your marriage.

Q. Will our property be split evenly?

A. Illinois follows the principles of equitable distribution, which means that the marital property of a couple must be divided fairly between the spouses. A fair allocation might not be exactly equal. In the absence of an agreement, it is up to the court to determine what is fair based on a number of financial and circumstantial factors.

Q. How much will I see my children after my divorce?

A. Divorcing parents are encouraged by Illinois law to develop a cooperative parenting plan that spells out each parent's parental responsibilities (child custody), as well as a schedule for parenting time or visitation. These responsibilities should be shared in a manner that serves the best interests of the child while respecting the rights of both parents. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, a parenting plan will be created by the court.

Q. How much will my divorce cost?

A. It is impossible to predict exactly how much your divorce will cost you. The costs associated with your case will depend on the details involved. For example, if your divorce requires the services of a real estate appraiser, an investment professional, and a forensic accountant, your expenses will be greater than if those professionals were not needed. Your lawyer can help you keep your costs reasonable, but unfortunately, the more contentious the situation, the more likely it will cost more. 

Q. How long does a divorce take to finalize?

A. Similar to the cost of a divorce, there is no way to know how long your divorce will take to be completed. Your attorney can review your situation and give you a good-faith estimate, but the circumstances can change quickly, especially if your relationship with your spouse is volatile. If you and your spouse have already agreed on most of the key issues, your divorce may require just a few weeks. If there is still much left to figure out, or if a trial is necessary, the process might last several months or longer.

Q. Will I have to go to court?

A. You must appear in court at least once before the judge can finalize your divorce. If your case is more involved, however, you will probably need to appear in court more often.

Q. Who can I call for help?

A. If you are facing a divorce, contact Goostree Law Group. Call 630-364-4046 for a free, no-obligation consultation at any one of our three locations.

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