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Paul W. Plotnick, Divorce Attorney
Providing counsel to clients requiring legal assistance with a Divorce.
In order for a divorce now called Dissolution of Marriage to be granted, the filing party must have legally resided in Illinois for 90 days before the final judgment.
A party, or both parties, must prove grounds for the divorce for it to be granted. A commonly used ground in Illinois is irreconcilable differences, which is typically considered "no-fault." To file under no-fault grounds, the parties must prove that there is a breakdown in the marriage, that they have been living separate and apart for two years, and the Court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. In certain cases, and if all statutory requirements are met, the parties can agree to limit the period of separation to six months. Other grounds which may be used include, but may not be limited to, mental cruelty, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness or a drug habit, adultery, impotence and imprisonment, and typically have certain statutory time frames which must be met in order to file under such grounds. (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act - ILCS 750, Part IV).
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property in a divorce will be divided equitably, Equitably means fairly, but does not necessarily mean 50-50. All property acquired after the marriage is presumed to be marital property. Under Illinois divorce law, marital property is divided regardless of fault in the divorce. An Illinois divorce court will consider factors such as the contribution of each spouse to marital property, the length of the marriage, and each spouses economic circumstances
Does it matter who files first?
It does not typically matter who is the first to file a case. The person who files the case is known as the Petitioner and the other party is known as the Respondent. Note, it costs approximately $300.00 more in court costs to file as the Petitioner than the Respondent who must only pay an appearance fee.
How long does the divorce last?
The more issues that are unresolved and the more the parties disagree, the longer the case will take. If the parties agree, it takes approximately one month to have the paper work completed and to obtain a final court date. If the case cannot be resolved and will need to go to trial, the case will take a longer period of time to complete.
Will my spouse have to pay my attorney's fees?
The law does not require that one spouse be automatically responsible for the other spouse's attorney's fees. However, if one spouse has the majority of the financial resources, the court under the levelling the playing field law is required to make that spouse assist the economically dependent spouse with fees and costs. The burden is upon the spouse seeking a contribution for fees to first show that he or she has an inability to pay the fees with their own resources. Additionally, if court orders are entered either during or after the case that our not complied with, and the spouse seeking to enforce the agreement is forced to incur attorney's fees, the court will order that those fees be reimbursed if the individual violating the court order did so without substantial cause or justification.
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9933 Lawler Avenue Skokie, IL 60077 Email Paul Plotnick
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