Illinois Divorce FAQ

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Whether your divorce is contentious or not, whether you have children or not, whether you have a lot of assets or not, whether just about anything, there is one common theme among all divorce: it is emotionally taxing. No divorce is "simple." Under those circumstances, it can be easy to overlook an important matter or to compromise to something to your detriment. A divorce lawyer in Illinois will make sure nothing is missing and that the divorce is fair and considers your rights and interests.

At The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law), our divorce lawyer helps clients understand what's at stake. Some of the most common questions asked are answered here for you. We know that informed clients make better decisions for themselves and their families. We can also help you assess what divorce method is most helpful for your personal history. If you want specific answers that relate to your unique situation, contact us online or at (630) 891-2478 to schedule a consultation & planning session.

How much will my divorce in DuPage County cost?

The cost of your divorce will depend on multiple factors, but mainly it depends on whether the divorce is contested or not. Quite naturally, an uncontested divorce or divorce mediation will not cost as much simply because the process is much more straightforward and it avoids costly litigation within a divorce court. In an uncontested divorce, you may not even see a day inside the courtroom. But in contested divorces, the costs depend on factors like:

  • The extent of the disputes or disagreements between the spouses
  • The potential for custody battles
  • The number of assets, including the allegations of hidden assets
  • The attorney you hire––and that does not only mean the attorney fees but the lawyer's legal competency and negotiating skills

Giving a precise prediction of how much your divorce will cost is impossible because of the various factors that go into it, however, here is a blog that covers the cost for for DuPage divorce that can help you better understand and learn tips for how to control or lower your costs for a divorce.  

What if my spouse does not want a divorce?

You can still prepare and/or file for divorce even if your spouse does not want the divorce. Some states require a period of separation, and that could be metaphorically or physically, and other states do not require it. In Illinois, you must be living separate and apart for a period in excess of 6 months - this mean not having a sexual relationship - as you can still live under the same roof. Regardless of any separation requirement, all states, including Illinois, allow no-fault divorces. No fault simply means the marriage has irretrievably broken down or the spouses have irreconcilable differences.  

Can I sue for divorce in Illinois on the grounds of adultery?

Now that all states allow no-fault divorces, you do not have to have a ground for divorce except in rare cases. For example, if you entered a covenant marriage, then you may be required to provide a ground for divorce, like adultery. While is it not common in Illinois to file a fault ground, our firm can assist you with how best to include this information. Further, you may want to file a fault-based divorce pleading if your spouse cheated on you and during the affair, they wasted marital property (e.g., cash) on it. In this situation, a judge would make up for the waste via asset distribution to the spouse who did not cheat. This waste of marital property is called dissipation in Illinois.

How is DuPage County child custody or support determined?

Child custody, visitation, and child support are determined case-by-case with each state having their specific, respective guidelines. These matters, however, are always determined by considering the "best interests of the child" standard. In general, though, courts want both parents to build strong relationships with their children. To help our clients remain focused on being the best coparent they can be, we offer a free coparenting declaration. Courts also recognize that both parents are financially responsible for the child. Child custody, visitation, and child support will reflect those beliefs as the basis of the determination.

How is DuPage County alimony determined?

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is determined on a case-by-case basis with each state having their specific, respective guidelines. In Illinois, we use a statutory guideline calculation unless the combined marital income exceeds $500,000. Most states consider the present earning ability and future earning opportunities of the spouses. If one spouse was dependent on the other spouse through the marriage, that factor will weigh heavily on any court's decision on alimony.

How are assets and debt divided in Illinois?

Assets and debt are divided according to your state's approach to the division of property. There are two approaches: community property and equitable distribution. Illinois follows an equitable division approach. In the first approach, property and debts are divided equally. In the second approach, a 50/50 isn't necessarily––what matters is what's fair.

My spouse is abusive. How do I protect myself during the divorce?

Spouses who have abusive spouses are in most danger when they seek divorce. You should protect yourself by getting as much help and support you can. You can file a restraining order, the process of which varies state to state. In Illinois, if you file both a restraining order (order of protection) and a divorce, the two cases will be consolidated and likely heard by the same judge. You should also consider state and local programs aimed at helping survivors of domestic abuse. You also want to build a network of support using friends and family as well as a supportive family law attorney.

How do I start my divorce in DuPage County?

The best practice is to first retain a trusted divorce attorney to help you plan for your divorce and help you set realistic divorce goals. The, to start the formal divorce in any state, you have to file a petition to dissolve the marriage with the court clerk. The court where you must file the petition varies state to state or county to county. This blog covers how to file a cast in DuPage County, and our divorce attorney and paralegal handles this task for all clients. Once the petition is filed, the other spouse has a certain number of days to answer the petition unless the divorce is a mutual one, making an answer unnecessary. The most efficient way to start a divorce is to contact a divorce attorney to handle it for you. This way the petition is properly filed and/or timely answered. 

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Illinois Today

If you are thinking of a divorce or have been served divorce papers, contact The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law) either by using the online contact form or calling us at (630) 891-2478. We will schedule a consultation & planning session so that you can get your most immediate questions answered more specifically.

Our Attorneys

  • Erin Birt

    Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on pa...

  • Tyler Birt

    Since 2007, Tyler Birt has been a legal assistant and bookkeeper fo...

  • Karen Hansel

    As Administrative Assistant at Birt Law, Karen’s involvement in dai...

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