Divorce in Illinois is complex. The considerations include:
Whether to get a divorce, where the minor children should live, if any, and the associated parenting plan, how much child support should be paid, how much college contribution should be paid and how it is should be allocated, how property should be divided, who should pay certain debts, and whether maintenance should be paid.
A divorce can be uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree on all of these issues. If that is the case, a Marital Settlement agreement can be drafted, attached to the Judgment for Dissolution. If they have children, the parties must attend a mandatory parenting class, and then the divorce can be entered. On the other hand, a contested divorce is when the spouses do not agree on any one of the considerations previously mentioned. If that is the case, a potentially long and costly divorce process begins.
If the parties have children, they will be ordered to attend the mandatory parenting class. In addition, if they can’t agree on the child related issues, the court will order the parties to attend mediation to try to develop a parenting plan. If they can’t agree on a parenting plan, a Guardian Ad Litem or Child Representative is appointed to help the judge determine what is in the best of the children.
Divorcing spouses will also have to participate in the discovery process. Discovery is when the assets and liabilities of the parties are identified.
After discovery, we try to settle the matter. If the parties don’t agree to a settlement, hearings on interim issues occur. Interim hearings can happen on matters like child support, parenting time, maintenance, and anything else that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
After the interim hearings, the court may set a pretrial. A pretrial is when the court reviews the desires of the parties and recommends a way to settle the case. If the parties agree with the settlement, the settlement agreement is drafted, attached to the judgment, and the parties can be divorced. If not, a trial is scheduled.
There is no way to know exactly how long it will take to get a divorce. The length of time depends on many things. If both spouses can agree on how to settle issues in the divorce case, the process will be shorter. If not, the divorce process will take much longer.
I can tell you that divorce law can be one of the most confusing, stressful, and costly areas of the law; you should choose your representation wisely. I am a family law mediator, collaborative law attorney, litigator and I practice transactional law. My attorneys and I have the ability and temperament to navigate you through the changing face of divorce law, and we will work with you to educate you on the law, inform you of the process involved, and explain your options. If you need assistance with your divorce matter, call The Evans Williams Law Group to schedule a consultation.