Roadmap to Divorce
If you are facing a divorce, it is only natural to feel as if you are at an utter loss about how best to proceed. After all, you’re facing considerable emotional upheaval, and the dissolution of a legal contract probably isn’t something you’re ready to master on the spot. Fortunately, there is a basic roadmap to divorce that can help you move forward with increased confidence. Ultimately, the most important first step you can take on this journey is consulting with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney.
Make Sure that You’re Sure
If you are at the stage of considering a divorce, it is a very good idea to take a moment, step back, and make sure that divorce is the right answer for you. Ultimately, a divorce attorney can’t – or shouldn’t – tell you whether divorce is your best option, but he or she can help you better understand what a divorce is likely to mean for you if you do ultimately choose divorce.
Find the Right Divorce Attorney
The consequences of a divorce will significantly affect your finances and your parental rights, which are two excellent reasons you should have an experienced divorce attorney in your corner. Because the divorce process tends to be emotionally exhausting, looking for a divorce attorney who checks all of the following boxes is a good place to start:
- An attorney whom you feel comfortable sharing personal information about your finances and marriage
- An attorney whose advice you trust and who comes well recommended
- An attorney who helps you understand the process ahead and what you can do to protect your rights along the way
- An attorney whom you can get ahold of when you need him or her
- An attorney who ultimately feels like a good fit
Initiate the Divorce
If you are filing for divorce, your attorney will gather the necessary information and prepare the divorce petition, filing it with the proper court. If your spouse files for divorce, your attorney will properly respond and file an answer to the petition.
You will need to complete a comprehensive financial disclosure form that you provide to your spouse, and you will need to obtain the same from your spouse. Your attorney will oversee this process and work to ensure everything is complete and accurate.
One of the primary issues you need to address is parental responsibility and parenting time, especially if you and your spouse are living separately. Your lawyer can help you reach an agreement with your spouse on these issues whenever possible or can represent you during mediation if needed.
In order to make the best decisions regarding the outcome of your divorce, you and your attorney need to have complete information from your spouse. In some cases, discovery can be relatively simple, as you and your spouse each have a clear picture of your marriage, property, and assets. In other cases, this can be a complex and extensive process.
Settlement or Trial
Your attorney will work to help you settle all relevant issues in your divorce with your spouse out of court. These include spousal support, property division, and parental issues. If you can reach a resolution regarding all issues, your attorney can draft a settlement agreement that you present to the court for approval.
If you cannot agree on all issues, your attorney will need to present your arguments to the court, and your spouse’s attorney will do the same for them. The judge will then rule on the remaining issues and incorporate the rulings into the divorce decree.
After the court issues your final decree, you and your spouse will need to divide property and assets as the decree requires. Support payments should start – or continue – according to the decree, and you will need to follow the parenting arrangements. You will need to refer to and follow the decree until your children are no longer minors.
Reach out to an Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney Today
If you are beginning the divorce process, a practiced divorce attorney at The Delaney Heckman in Joliet can help guide you on the path toward divorce terms that support your rights and uphold your best interests. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information today.