Getting a divorce in Illinois begins with a court filing that tells the judge the marriage is no longer working, and it ends when you and your spouse resolve certain aspects of the divorce process. While each divorce is unique, the issues that the court requires you to resolve are not.
Become familiar with the major points of getting a divorce in Illinois.
Do you have marital assets or debt?
A significant part of divorce is dividing marital property and debt. Illinois operates under equitable division during divorce. This means that you and your spouse may not walk away with equal amounts of assets. If you cannot agree on who gets what, the judge will consider a variety of factors, including:
- Whether a spouse left the workforce to care for children
- If one spouse has substantial separate assets
- The earning potential of both spouses
- Whether a spouse needs spousal maintenance
Other factors that can affect property division include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s health and age and custody arrangements for the couple’s children.
Do you have minor children?
Marriages with children require parents to agree on child custody, parenting time and support. You and your spouse should compromise and devise plausible solutions for each of these elements, or else the judge will step in and decide how you parent your children moving forward. Absent reasons not to, judges typically err on the side of awarding both parents equal legal custody.
Trying to compromise during your divorce may make the process go smoother. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach decisions on these or other issues, the court will direct you on how to proceed towards the ultimate goal of a divorce.