Arlington Heights Divorce Law Firm
While not too much has changed in Arlington Heights in the past several years, the same cannot be said of Illinois’ family laws. These laws recently changed significantly, specifically with regard to marriage dissolution.
At Andrea Heckman Law, our approach to these cases has not changed much, either. Our Arlington Heights divorce law firm begins each case with a conversation. Your attorney should clearly understand your needs and goals in a particular situation. Only then do we begin diligently working for you. We do our homework and then stand up for you in court and at the negotiating table.
Preparing and Filing a Divorce
Illinois is now a pure no-fault state. Evidence-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery and cruelty, are gone. Many people pursued evidence-based divorces in the past to avoid the two-year waiting period. But since the extended waiting period is gone as well, there is little call for a fault-based divorce.
A brief residency requirement still applies. Either party must have resided in the state for at least 90 days prior to filing. Additionally, if the divorce is not completely agreed, there is a six-month waiting period. However, as outlined below, most contested divorces take more than six months to resolve anyway.
The petitioner must also serve the paperwork on the respondent. Typically, an Arlington Heights divorce law firm works with a private process server. That is usually the fastest and most efficient method. Alternatives, such as service via constable, publication, or social media, might be appropriate in certain situations.
Marriage Dissolution Procedure
About two weeks after filing, most Cook County judges hold temporary hearings. The court enters some basic ground rules for the divorce, such as a partial restraining order. This order usually prevents the spouses from disposing of property, harassing each other, or speaking ill about one another in the presence of their children.
These orders also usually contain temporary child support, alimony, and child custody provisions. Although these orders technically expire when the judge finalizes the divorce, they often form the blueprint for the final orders. So, assertive representation from an Arlington Heights divorce law firm is essential at this stage.
Discovery usually comes next. In civil cases, both sides exchange information about their claims and defenses. Divorce discovery usually involves financial matters. Sometimes, discovery is limited to an exchange of tax returns and paystubs. Other times, however, it is much more complicated. That is especially true if the couple has any assets to speak of and/or there is evidence that one party is concealing assets or debts from the other party.
Discovery might also involve the parenting time division. In contested cases, Cook County judges generally order social services investigations.
Resolving a Cook County Divorce
Once discovery is at least substantially complete, settlement negotiations can begin in earnest. Informal talks usually resolve many marriage dissolution cases.
If these talks break down, mediation is usually next. A third-party mediator works with both sides to facilitate a settlement. If both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful. That is because mediation is significantly less expensive than a trial, helps parties maintain civility, and gives them more control over the outcome.
Contact an Assertive Attorney
Most divorces involve complex legal questions and procedures. For a free consultation at an experienced divorce law firm in Arlington Heights, contact Andrea Heckman Law.