More people than ever before now see divorce as a morally acceptable solution to severe marital problems. That is especially true of people over 50. The divorce rate in this age group has tripled since 1990. Marriage dissolution always means significant financial, emotional, and other changes. Sometimes these changes are good, and sometimes they are bad. Throughout the process, an attorney’s job is to advocate for clients and also provide them with solid advice.
We take these responsibilities very seriously at the Andrea Heckman Law. Each case begins with a conversation. After we understand your needs and goals, we formulate a plan of action. Then, we stick with that plan relentlessly because we never compromise your legal and financial rights. Furthermore, we keep you fully informed all along the way, so you can make the best possible choices.
Types of Divorce in Illinois
In 2016, lawmakers significantly reworked the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Statute. They made these changes to simplify the process, make the outcomes more consistent, and reflect the reality of modern Wheeling families.
A few couples qualify for a joint simplified divorce. These couples must have been married less than eight years, have no children, and no property. Joint simplified divorces have fewer procedural hurdles and less paperwork.
Most divorces are contested. There is almost always at least some disagreement on some issues. If the couple has children, there is a 180-day residency requirement; if the couple is childless, the residency period is only 90 days.
In the aforementioned 2016 changes, Illinois lawmakers did away with all grounds for divorce except for irreconcilable differences. Before a judge grants the divorce, the couple must be separated for two years. However, most couples waive the waiting period, so it hardly ever applies.
The Divorce Process in Cook County
After the petitioner files a petition, a sheriff or private process server must give personal notice to the other party. If the respondent dodges service, this part of the process can be difficult. To get around these difficulties, judges may soon allow service via social media or some other means.
Next, the judge typically holds a brief hearing to determine some divorce ground rules. These temporary orders concern matters like:
- Parenting time,
- Child support,
- Property division, and
- Spousal support.
Many times, these temporary orders become permanent later. So, aggressive representation early on is a key to a successful outcome.
Almost all divorce cases settle out of court, and mediation resolves most of them. A mediator, who is usually a retired judge or an unaffiliated Wheeling family law attorney, works to bring the parties together on the issues mentioned above. If the parties reach an agreement, the case ends. Mediation has significant benefits, which is why it usually works.
No divorce order is permanent, as families constantly change. For example, if one parent gets a new job in a new part of Chicagoland, the family support provisions may need to be changed, along with the custody/visitation orders. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to legally modify Wheeling divorces at least once every three years.
Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers
Illinois marriage dissolution laws are designed to help people move on emotionally, legally, and financially. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Wheeling, contact the Andrea Heckman Law We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.