How Is Property Divided?
In Illinois divorce cases, marital property is divided using equitable distribution. This means that all property, including assets and debts, obtained during the marriage will be divided using the equitable distribution standard. Under equitable distribution, the court takes certain factors into account to ensure each spouse receives a fair portion of the marital property. A fair portion does not necessarily mean each spouse will receive an equal portion. Rather, each spouse’s portion of marital property will be determined by factors such as:
- The length of the marriage;
- Each party’s age, health, and sources of income and
- Each party’s contributions to the marriage.
What Happens if We Have a Child Together?
Children raise special considerations during divorce. Child custody and child support will need to be resolved if you have a minor child with your spouse. If that is the case, you should be aware that Illinois employs a legal standard known as the “best interests” standard in cases involving children. Basically, this means that the child’s best interests will be held as the top priority by the court. If the judge determines child support and custody, they will first consider what is best for your child. This means that you will need to show the court that your preference for child custody is indeed in your child’s best interests.
What If I’m Not Ready for Divorce?
If you feel that you no longer wish to be married, but are not ready to file for divorce, state law provides somewhat of an intermediary step. Instead of filing for divorce, you can file for a legal separation. A legal separation is not the same as divorce as the separation does not legally end your marriage. Rather, a legal separation means that the courts recognize you and your spouses are separated, possibly with the intent of divorcing in the future. Pursuing a legal separation can give you time to weigh the consequences of divorce, and decide on your next steps.
Do We Have to Go to Trial?
No, filing for divorce does not necessarily mean that your case will go to trial. Often, divorcing spouses want to have their day in court, an opportunity to air grievances and seek legal vindication. However, as the process moves forward, many of those same parties realize that going to trial may not be the best means of resolution. Divorcing spouses usually are able to settle at least some issues through a process called mediation. Mediation involves working with a neutral third party to create mutual agreement about disputed issues, such as alimony or child support. Your attorney can help you determine whether mediation, or another means of negotiation and settlement, is appropriate in your case.
Our Naperville Divorce Firm Can Help You
As you consider divorce, you probably have more questions than those listed above. At Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., our skilled divorce attorneys are ready to help Naperville residents through divorce and other family law issues. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and discuss your case with an experienced attorney today.