Experienced and Effective Divorce Attorneys in Springfield, Illinois Who Fight for You
Tough litigators who don’t back down in the Peoria area
Divorce in Illinois very often involves serious issues regarding property and children. An ineffective lawyer may not be able to provide the long-term solutions that your family needs. Family law in Illinois has its own set of rules and procedures, and an inexperienced lawyer may be intimidated by both the process and the attorney on the other side.
At James R. Potter, P.C., our attorneys have many years of experience in family law and other matters in Illinois. Our family law attorneys know what it takes to obtain favorable results, and we work as hard as possible to get the job done.
A legal separation works for some Illinois families
Section 750.402 discusses legal separation in Illinois. Legal separation allows you to live apart from your spouse without being accused of abandonment later, as abandonment is grounds for a fault-based divorce. The judge sets up plans for child custody and child support while you are living apart, and you can file for divorce at a later time.
What is the divorce process in Illinois?
There are several important steps to follow in obtaining a divorce, including:
- Petition. Filing the divorce petition starts the process. In Illinois, a petitioner may request either a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce:
- A no-fault-divorce is based on “irreconcilable differences” and requires no evidence, other than one party’s testimony that the marriage has broken down.
- A fault-based divorce can be based on adultery, abandonment, impotency, physical or emotional abuse, and other factors listed in Section 750.401. Fault may not be considered in the property division, but may be considered in child custody decisions.
- Service. The non-filing spouse must be served with the petition to provide formal notice of the proceedings. Sometimes the attorneys at James R. Potter, P.C. work with the non-filing spouse to make service of process more convenient and less embarrassing; other times, it is better to simply send the sheriff to the house.
- Temporary hearing. After your spouse is served, the judge may enter temporary orders regarding child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and other areas. The temporary orders are in effect until the divorce is finalized.
- Discovery. Most of the divorces we handle at James R. Potter, P.C. are a combination of uncontested and contested, meaning that the parties agree on some, but not all issues:
- In an uncontested divorce, this phase can be very short: the parties may exchange a few basic financial documents and then proceed to settlement negotiations.
- In a contested divorce, discovery can be a lengthy process of depositions, written discovery and court hearings.
- Settlement negotiations. Sometimes settlement negotiations occur formally in a conciliation conference, sometimes the negotiations are an informal meeting, and sometimes the parties simply exchange proposed orders and never actually meet face-to-face.
- Trial. If the parties cannot settle the case, the case goes to trial:
- The judge usually orders a pretrial conference to narrow the issues and exchange pretrial documents.
- A trial could last between a few hours and a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.
Requirements for getting divorced in Illinois
You must be a resident of Illinois to file for divorce in Illinois, but it does not matter where you were married. According to Section 750.401, you must be separated from your spouse, legally or otherwise, for two years before the judge can grant a no-fault divorce. There is no minimum separation period required before you can seek a fault-based divorce.
Prenuptial agreements are enforceable in Illinois if valid
A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties to be enforceable, but a prenuptial agreement may be considered invalid if the parties did not disclose all relevant information prior to entering into the agreement. A judge usually approves the prenuptial agreement unless one party signed involuntarily, the agreement was unconscionable when made, or provisions regarding spousal support subsequently create an unanticipated undue hardship.
Contact Champaign/Urbana-area attorneys working to find creative solutions to your family law issues
At James R. Potter, P.C., our attorneys think outside the box to craft a divorce settlement tailored to your family’s needs. Contact James R. Potter, P.C. at 217-806-0323 or online to schedule your free consultation.