Although the divorce rate has declined since the 1990s, it is still about twice as high as it was a generation ago. Furthermore, among certain age groups, such as adults over 50, the divorce rate has increased since the 1990s. Some significant 2015 changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Statutes reworked many parts of the divorce process. However, many divorce procedures are still the same.
At the Delaney Heckman, our attorneys stay on the cutting edge. We are fully in tune with the new legal changes because, in many cases, we helped engineer those changes. At the same time, our professional team also uses proven methods in divorce cases. At every turn, we always strive to protect your legal and financial rights.
Getting a Divorce in Arlington Heights
Illinois is a pure no-fault state. The marital fault may be relevant in the property division phase, but it is never relevant when granting a divorce. Only irreconcilable differences, which means the marriage has irretrievably broken down, can legally dissolve a marriage.
At least one spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days (180 days if the divorce involves minor children) prior to the filing of a petition. Additionally, once the divorce is filed, the parties must live separately for at least two years before a judge finalizes the divorce. If both parties agree, the waiting period can be reduced to six months.
Illinois law does recognize a form of legal separation. This option may be a good idea if, for whatever reason, the parties want to live separate but do not want to legally divorce.
Some Marriage Dissolution Issues in Arlington Heights
If the marriage involves no children and basically no property, an expedited Joint Simplified Dissolution may be available. But in most cases, the couple must go through the completed divorce process.
Parenting time plans, which were once known as custody and visitation arrangements, must be in the best interests of the children. Some factors to consider include:
- Any agreements between the parents,
- Child’s preference,
- Ability to co-parent and respect the other parent’s rights,
- History of domestic violence, and
- Any physical or mental disability that the parent or child has.
Typically, a Cook County judge makes a preliminary parenting time determination about two weeks after the petition is filed. Unless substantial new evidence comes up, this temporary plan usually becomes permanent.
Property division matters must result in a just and right division of the marital estate. Illinois is an equitable division state, and “equitable” is not necessarily the same thing as “equal.” Some factors to consider here include:
- Length of the marriage,
- Agreements between the parties,
- Custody of minor children, and
- Each spouse’s ability to earn money.
The judge must distribute property in such a way that the divorce is not an unfair financial burden on either party.
Resolving Your Arlington Heights Divorce
Out-of-court settlements resolve most civil cases, including most divorce cases. In the family law realm, these settlements often involve mediation.
During mediation, a neutral third party listens to the arguments of both sides. Then, the mediator works to facilitate a settlement on key issues. If both parties negotiate in good faith and with an open mind, mediation is at least partially successful in most cases.
Mediation has other benefits as well. Mediation reduces legal fees and also gives the parties more control over the outcome. That control often means fewer motions to enforce court orders.
Contact a Dedicated Lawyer
Marriage dissolution usually involves both financial and emotional issues. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Arlington Heights, contact The Delaney Heckman We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.