location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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phone 312-884-1222

Cook County Divorce FAQs

Chicago Family Law Attorney Answers Questions About Divorce in Illinois

If you are getting a divorce, you likely have many questions about what to expect from the process and how best to handle it in order to achieve a result that protects your interests. At The Law Office of George J. Skuros, we make a point to be available to our clients for regular communication to answer questions specific to their cases. We also provide these answers to frequently asked questions about the Illinois divorce process as a resource for anyone looking for information.

Who Can File for Divorce in Illinois?

As long as at least one spouse has been an Illinois resident, or has been stationed in Illinois for military service, for at least the past 90 days, either spouse can file for divorce in Illinois. There is no requirement that you and your spouse have been legally separated or living apart from each other for any length of time before filing. There is no tangible legal advantage to filing first, but doing so can help to put the legal process in motion.

What Are the Legal Grounds for Divorce in Illinois?

The only grounds for divorce according to Illinois law are irreconcilable differences leading to the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. Fault-based divorce, including for reasons such as adultery or substance abuse, is no longer recognized in Illinois. You can establish irreconcilable differences by living separate and apart from your spouse for six months (which can even be done while still sharing a residence, as long as you stopped living together as a married couple), presenting evidence and testimony to the court, or showing that you and your spouse are in agreement about ending the marriage.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Divorce?

An attorney is beneficial for any divorce, no matter how amicable, to ensure that you understand your rights, follow the appropriate procedures for completing and filing documents, and address all important issues to the best of your ability. In a contested divorce, especially one involving financial dishonesty, domestic violence, or disputes about children, a lawyer is crucial to help you protect yourself and present your case before the court.

How Much Will My Divorce Cost?

Getting a divorce comes with many expenses, including attorney fees, court costs, and in some cases, the costs of financial experts and other professionals who can help you handle the issues at hand. An uncontested divorce is typically less expensive than a contested divorce, but the costs can vary substantially from case to case. It is important to work with an attorney who is upfront about the likely costs and committed to keeping you informed throughout the process.

How Long Will it Take to Finalize My Divorce?

If you and your spouse have agreed to get a divorce and there are few issues to resolve, it may be possible to finalize your divorce in a matter of weeks. For cases involving children or complicated financial situations, settlement negotiations can take significantly longer. If your divorce is contested and going to trial, it could take longer than a year for the completion of evaluations and preparations by both parties.

Will My Divorce Go to Trial?

The vast majority of divorce cases in Illinois are resolved without requiring a trial. When you and your spouse can reach a settlement on all important issues, you can end your marriage through a few court filings and minimal court appearances. However, if negotiations fail, or if they are unrealistic because of an issue like domestic violence or abandonment, your divorce will likely need to be resolved through litigation.

Will All My Assets Be Split With My Spouse?

Illinois requires marital property to be equitably distributed between spouses, but this does not mean that all property will be split down the middle. You will be able to keep your own non-marital property, and it is often possible to negotiate with your spouse so that you can each keep assets that are important to you for personal and financial reasons.

Will One of Us Have to Pay Alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is awarded only when both spouses agree to it or when one spouse needs it in order to support themself after the divorce. This is often the case when there is an imbalance in income and assets, when one spouse has extraordinary health needs, or when one spouse has been a homemaker or stay-at-home parent.

Who Gets Custody of the Kids in an Illinois Divorce?

"Child custody" is no longer the legal term used to describe child-related decisions in a divorce. Instead, you and your spouse will need to create a parenting plan addressing parenting time and the allocation of parental decision-making responsibilities according to your children's best interests. In most divorce cases, both parents will be granted significant responsibilities.

Can I Change the Terms of My Divorce Order?

Once finalized, your divorce order will be legally binding, but it is possible to update many of the terms later on, especially if your financial circumstances or life situation changes substantially. In order to do so, you will need to petition the court for modification.

Contact a Chicago, IL Divorce Lawyer

For questions about your divorce case, contact us today at 312-884-1222 and schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including Schaumburg, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Mount Prospect, the North Shore, and the surrounding areas.

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