Divorce Lawyer Near Me
Location is not just important in real estate. Especially if you live in a suburban county like Lake, Kane, or McHenry, you might wonder, “Do I really need a divorce lawyer near me?” Procedurally, marriage dissolution cases in these smaller counties are much different from the ones just down the road in sprawling Cook County. Without effective, local representation, your attorney may be unfamiliar with all the nuances in these areas. That is no way to stand up for your legal and financial rights.
At Andrea Heckman Law, we work hard to uphold these rights. That work begins as soon as you come in for your initial consultation. The hard work continues during preliminary hearings and pretrial exercises. In our experience, being a good lawyer is not much different than being a good student. If you do your homework and pay attention to the details, you generally do better on the tests.
What to Expect When Someone Files a Petition
In 2016, state lawmakers did away with adultery, cruelty, and all other evidence-based divorces. Illinois is now a pure no-fault state. At the same time, lawmakers also did away with the cumbersome two-year waiting period.
Next, the filing party must serve the petition. Personal service is best, but in some cases, a judge might permit service by publication, posting, or some other substitute form of delivery. The nonfiling party then has roughly 21 days to respond in writing. Otherwise, the judge may declare the nonfiling party in default and proceed to judgment straightaway. So, if your spouse filed for divorce, time is of the essence.
Temporary Hearing and Discovery
After the parties file their initial pleadings, the judge usually holds a temporary hearing. At this hearing, the judge makes interim decisions, mostly concerning child support, parenting time division, and spousal support. Technically, the judge can modify these orders and incorporate new ones in the final decree. As a practical matter, that will not happen unless compelling new evidence emerges. So, aggressive representation at the temporary hearing is critical to a successful outcome.
The discovery process follows the temporary hearing. Sometimes, discovery is brief and agreeable. Other times, especially if one spouse tries to conceal financial assets, discovery may be lengthy and acrimonious.
Discovery usually involves some non-financial aspects as well. For example, most judges appoint social workers to investigate the matter and make a recommendation. This recommendation is not binding on the court, but it does carry significant weight. In fact, if a party wants to change the parenting time division in the temporary order, a favorable social study recommendation is about the only way to effectuate such change.
Resolving and Reviving an Illinois Divorce
Most civil cases, including most marriage dissolutions, settle out of court. These agreed settlements reduce legal fees and give the litigants more control over the outcome. In other words, a settlement is usually in everyone’s best interests, even if it includes some compromises.
No divorce settlement is permanent. Families change over time. When that happens, a judge probably needs to officially modify the orders. Informal side-agreements are unenforceable in family court, even if they are in writing.
Connect with a Dedicated Lawyer
Marriage dissolution laws and procedures work differently in different places. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Chicagoland, contact Andrea Heckman Law. After-hours visits are available.