Dissolution of Marriage

The emotional strain of divorce can be difficult for anyone to bear. At Scott W. Sheen & Associates, we recognize that divorce is not just a legal issue but a life-changing experience. Our family law attorneys understand your concerns and will guide you through the complexities of divorce. We will look at your case with objectivity and compassion to determine a course of action that will best benefit you and your children.

In Illinois, there is no waiting period to file a petition for divorce. However, you must be a legal resident of the state for 90 days. During the divorce proceedings, the judge needs to find irreconcilable differences that “have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” The court must also determine that reconciliation efforts have failed or that future reconciliation would not be in the family’s best interest.

Woman Removing Her Wedding Band With Divorce Papers

The divorce process can be extremely overwhelming. We want to serve as your trusted guide and help you navigate the road ahead.

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Procedures for Filing a Divorce

  1. A party files a complaint for dissolution based on irreconcilable differences. The other party then has 30 days to file an answer to the petition after service of process.
  2. Parties file financial affidavits, and another discovery is sent out. The parties then have 28 days to respond to discovery requests from opposing counsel.
  3. A party motions for temporary relief, child support, maintenance issues, or motions relating to a party’s conduct.
  4. Parenting plans must be submitted to the court within 120 days of filing.
  5. Mediation of parenting and financial issues
  6. Pretrial conferences
  7. Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA): Division of Assets and debts if agreed to by the parties. The court decides financial issues after a trial or pretrial conference.
  8. Trial on all issues
  9. Prove Up Hearing: If you enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement, you can resolve your case with a court appearance in which you summarize the terms of your MSA for court record.

Contested Divorce

A divorce is contested if spouses disagree about:

  • Whether to get a divorce
  • Where the children should live and decisions on allocations of parental responsibility
  • How much child support should be paid
  • Whether spousal maintenance should be paid
  • How property should be divided
  • Who should pay certain debts
  • Where pets should live

Uncontested Divorce

The spouses agree to not only getting divorced but to all the issues involved in the divorce:

  • Usually faster than contested divorces
  • A judge must approve the agreement
  • Resolve all issues of support, assets, debts and child allocations

If one spouse files for divorce and the other does not reply by filing an Appearance and Answer, it will result in a default and uncontested divorce. The case will go on and conclude without the other spouse.

Protecting Your Children’s Future

When you have children, the divorce process can be complicated and emotionally taxing. The decisions you make during this time will impact you and your children for years. Together, we will pursue the future you and your children deserve.

Divorce Settlements

At the end of a divorce case, the judge will issue a judgment that officially ends the marriage. The divorce judgment will usually include the following topics:

  • Division of property including money, real estate, and investments
  • Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time rights
  • A parenting-time schedule and specifics on child support
  • Allocation of joint debts including mortgages and credit card balances
  • Maintenance and its conditions

Spousal Maintenance

The judge will determine if a spouse is eligible to get maintenance based on a series of factors:

  • The needs of each party
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The income and the property of each party
  • The realistic present and future earning compacity of each party
  • All financial obligations put on each party due to the divorce
  • Any damage to the earning capacity of the spouse due to their devotion to domestic duties such as childcare
  • Damage to the earning capacity caused by a delay in their education or employment resulting from the marriage
  • The time needed for the spouse requesting maintenance to get the necessary education, employment, or training
  • Any tax issues that may arise from dividing up property
  • Any other factor that the judge may find fair to consider

Post Judgement Proceedings, Motions, Petitions and Rules to Show Cause

When a Finalized Divorce Requires Modification

Ideally, both parties can proceed without further legal action when a divorce decree is finalized. However, certain life events require modification to the initial decree or a party ignores their obligations under the Marital Settlement Agreement

It is always best to amicably negotiate terms between former spouses. Still, it is not enough to agree to change informally. For the terms to be legally binding, they must be formalized through a court order. Modification could potentially protect both parties from liabilities related to violating their existing divorce decree.

A family lawyer is invaluable in ensuring your right, and best interests are protected. Your family can depend on Scott W. Sheen & Associates for a strong and caring advocate. Our experienced attorneys will provide the legal guidance you need to resolve your family issue effectively.

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