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IL divorce lawyerMarried spouses and any children they have typically live in the same home. During and after divorce, spouses in Illinois are unlikely to want to remain under the same roof long-term but may feel uncertain about who, if anyone, will continue to live in the family home. Spouses can feel an emotional attachment to their home, especially if it has been inherited from cherished family members, and parents may have concerns about the destabilizing impact of moving to a new home on their children.

Determining Ownership

Whether one spouse owned the home before the marriage or whether the spouses bought a new home together will impact the way the marital home will be handled in the event of a divorce. Illinois law says that assets owned by either spouse prior to entering the marriage are usually considered individual property in the event of a divorce.

Large appliances and cars with your name on the title are fairly easy to distribute, as their ownership is clear. But homes are more complex, especially because spouses make mortgage payments and do not usually own them outright during the marriage.

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IL divorce lawyerNo matter how amicable your divorce may be, the process of getting divorced is unpleasant. Very few divorce cases are resolved quickly, and in the most complex or high-conflict cases, divorces can drag on for years. A protracted divorce in Illinois will take its toll on everyone and everything involved – spouses, children, relatives, bank accounts.

Some things are out of your control during divorce: You may have to wait longer than you want for a court appointment to be available, or for the discovery process to finish. Fortunately, you are not totally helpless when it comes to speeding up the process. Here are a few things you can do to make your divorce move more quickly.

Reach Agreement Before the Divorce Begins

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a couple only needs to cite irreconcilable differences as grounds for divorce. But if one spouse denies that there are irreconcilable differences, or does not agree that a divorce is necessary, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period of living “separate and apart.” In order to bypass this six-month waiting period, both spouses must agree to get divorced. Try to talk to your partner and reach an agreement that divorce is in your best interests before either party begins divorce proceedings.

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IL divorce lawyerAlimony or spousal maintenance refers to financial support that one spouse pays to the other spouse after divorce. “Temporary relief” spousal maintenance orders may also be ordered for the duration of the divorce proceedings. If you are getting divorced and you are concerned about the financial implications of the split, you may want to consider seeking financial assistance in the form of spousal maintenance. Read on to learn about when and how spouses may receive maintenance in an Illinois divorce.

Reaching a Spousal Maintenance Agreement with Your Spouse

Some spouses reach an alimony agreement long before they file for divorce. If you and your spouse already agreed on a maintenance arrangement in a valid prenuptial agreement or separation agreement, the terms of this agreement will likely be upheld by the court. However, if you have not already made these arrangements, you may need to negotiate a maintenance agreement as part of your divorce settlement. Your divorce lawyer may be able to help you reach an arrangement that you can both agree on. Divorce mediation may be another avenue for negotiating a spousal maintenance agreement.

Petitioning the Court for a Spousal Maintenance Award

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about maintenance terms, the court may step in and decide for you. Illinois courts do not award maintenance in every divorce case. Maintenance is awarded when spouses’ financial, employment, and life circumstances justify these payments. The court will consider the duration of your marriage, the standard of living experienced during the marriage, your employability, your spouse’s ability to pay maintenance, and several other factors. If maintenance is deemed appropriate, the court will use a statutory formula to determine the amount of maintenance that you will receive.

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IL divorce lawyerTypically, when a couple gets married, very little emphasis is placed on the financial implications of the marriage relationship. We prefer to think of marriage as a romantic union rather than a legal or economic arrangement. However, the financial consequences of marriage and divorce can be profound. If you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to be aware of the various asset division issues you may encounter.

How Will You Divide Your Property?

When most people think of property division during a divorce, they imagine divvying up furniture and other physical property. However, property division includes much more than physical property such as this. You may also need to consider how to handle investments, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, cryptocurrency, real estate, businesses, and professional practices. Assets that are hard to value or have fluctuating value will be especially difficult to value and divide in divorce.

How Wil You Address Property with Sentimental Value

It is crucial to remember that some property is meaningful not because of its financial value but because of its sentimental value. Have you considered who will keep family heirlooms, keepsakes, collectibles, or other sentimental items? What about the family pets? Although Illinois law does distinguish pets from other types of property, family pets are still subject to property division laws during divorce. Because these are often highly emotional questions, dividing property with personal or sentimental significance can become contentious.

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Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney divorce mediation

Ending a marriage is not as simple as signing on the dotted line and walking away. Most divorcing couples will need to resolve certain issues before they can finalize the divorce. The division of marital property and debt is often an especially complicated and tense aspect of a divorce. If you are a parent, you and your spouse will need to determine how to divide parenting responsibilities and parenting time. You and your spouse may also disagree about child support and/or spousal support. One way you may be able to reach an agreement about these issues is through family law mediation.

Mediation Is an Alternative to Divorce Litigation  

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about the terms of your divorce, the court will be forced to determine the unresolved issues for you. This not only takes away your control over the outcome of your divorce but going through divorce litigation is often a very stressful process. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that aims to resolve divorce issues outside of court. During mediation, the spouses work with a skilled mediator to discuss the unresolved issues, explore possible solutions, and find common ground.

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