Like the majority of states, Illinois permits no-fault divorce, which means that divorcing couples are not required to prove fault in order to dissolve their marriages. While divorces have generally become more amicable as a result of this change, dissolving a marriage is still a stressful and complex process, so if you are considering ending your marriage, you should first speak with an experienced Lake County divorce attorney who can help protect your interests.
In prior decades, couples were only permitted to dissolve their marriages for one of a few different reasons, including abuse, adultery, and abandonment. Fortunately, this is no longer necessary, as couples are no longer required to prove fault to obtain a divorce, but must only attest that their marriage has irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences.
Technically, both spouses do not need to agree that irreconcilable differences exist for a divorce to be granted. However, if both parties do agree, the pre-divorce waiting period that is imposed on most couples will be waived. Essentially, if both spouses wish to dissolve their marriage and express this in the form of an agreement that irreconcilable differences exist, the court will issue a divorce decree without delay. If, on the other hand, one spouse does not agree to the divorce and states that irreconcilable differences do not exist, a family law court will only grant the couple’s divorce if there is evidence that the parties have lived separate and apart for at least six months.
Although the no-fault divorce model was intended to help simplify the divorce process and make it less emotional, resolving the issues that are inevitably raised by dissolving a marriage remain complex. For instance, spouses who have decided to dissolve their marriages must address how marital assets will be divided, whether one spouse will be required to pay alimony, and if the couple has children, how parental responsibility and parenting time will be divided.
Of these issues, property division is one of the most difficult to resolve, as it requires couples to account for all of their property, including assets obtained prior to marriage, which is known as separate property, as well as marital assets. While the former will remain in the sole possession of the original owner, the latter must be divided equitably between the parties. Although this does not necessarily mean that assets will be divided equally, it does mean that they must be divided fairly. What qualifies as fair is determined by a court, which will take into account the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and economic circumstances, and whether the couple has any minor children.
When it comes to determining child custody, courts take these same factors into account, as well as the child’s wishes, the distance between the parties’ homes, who was primarily responsible for child rearing before the divorce, and both parties’ physical and mental health. However, the primary factor taken into consideration by the court will be what arrangement would be in the child’s best interests. In most cases, courts presume that it is best for a child to have continuing and frequent contact with both parents.
To speak with a dedicated and compassionate Lake County divorce attorney about your own pending divorce, please call the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 today.