Experienced and Compassionate Woodridge Divorce Attorney

Woodridge Divorce Attorney


Divorce is never easy. It can be devastating for the couple, their children, and other family members. In fact, it is one of life’s greatest sources of stress, but it is sometimes the only way forward. In fact, almost 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. During this turbulent time, when you are likely to be worried about your future, your finances, and the impact on your kids, you need a skilled Woodridge divorce attorney to guide you through the process.

As trial lawyers, our divorce attorneys know the importance of thorough preparation and aggressive representation. As people with families ourselves, we understand that divorce is not simply about dividing assets and property — it marks the end of a significant part of your life. Our divorce lawyer represents our clients with a deep sensitivity to the emotional impact divorce has on all parties affected.

If you are considering a divorce, call Wolfe & Stec today at 630-305-0222 for your no-cost consultation. Our team is ready to provide you with the quality legal support you need to protect your well-being and plan for your future.

Working With a Woodridge Divorce Lawyer

Protecting Yourself and Your Family is Critical

You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are on relatively good terms. You both just want a speedy and fair resolution and to then be able to move on with your lives. There’s no need to hire a lawyer, right? Wrong.

Trying to handle a divorce yourself could be a costly mistake. Even if you and your spouse agree and the divorce is friendly, this may change without warning as unexpected situations arise.

Children have issues; spouses become jealous or spiteful over new relationships; or one person may start to believe that the other is coming out ahead financially. Having an attorney can protect your rights when a once-cooperative spouse turns sour.

Remember, once your divorce is final, mistakes are almost impossible to undo; and not only can they cost you a significant amount of money, but you and your children can suffer effects that may last a lifetime. It is wise to have a divorce attorney in Woodridge involved to make sure you get it right the first time.

Some of the reasons to hire a Woodridge divorce lawyer include:

  • To manage issues with custody and visitation; the future of your children is at stake.
  • To ensure that marital property is divided fairly and equitably.
  • To represent you at trial if you and your spouse cannot negotiate a settlement.

The divorce process is complex, and laws constantly change. For example, the 2019 major revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. During the Trump administration, there were changes to tax liability regarding maintenance payments. With the Biden administration in office, there may be more changes that the Illinois legislature will have to address with additional amendments. Your attorney can help you through the steps and processes and ensure that you understand the changes.

If you live in the DuPage County area, you want a divorce attorney who knows both the local courts and the other lawyers and has their fingers on the pulse of the way the legal system runs in Woodridge. This kind of support can make a significant difference. Reach out to us at Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222 to learn more about how we can support you.

Our Woodridge Divorce Attorneys Share Valuable Facts

You have made the difficult decision to divorce. You have done your research and hired a divorce attorney in Woodridge to represent your interests. It is time to get started. Below we have shared some important details of which you should be aware. In Illinois:

  • You may file for divorce in the Circuit Court in the county where either spouse resides.
  • The parties need to reside in the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing.
  • The divorce process begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The filing party is the “Petitioner,” and the responding party is referred to as the “Respondent.”

You must abide by each of these rules in order to proceed with your divorce. If you do not meet the stated criteria, or file incorrectly, you will not be able to move forward.

Understanding the Three Phases of Divorce in Woodridge

In Illinois, the divorce process can be divided into three phases: temporary relief, discovery and resolution. Each is discussed below.

  • Temporary Relief Phase: During this phase the respondent is served with a Summons and Petition for Dissolution, typically by the sheriff or a professional service. You can find a copy of the summons form with a restraining order on the web. The summons provides temporary relief while the Petition for Dissolution remains pending. The spouse has 30 days to respond or a judge will typically set a date for both spouses to appear in court. This phase may include: a Temporary Order of Child Support, a Temporary Order of Maintenance (if the party is not self-supporting), a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), and Temporary Attorney Fees.
  • Discovery Phase: In this phase the parties exchange documents for a full disclosure of all assets. Each party must disclose a Financial Affidavit, which includes income, expenses, assets, debts, and other financial-related items. Commonly used methods for discovering information are Marital Interrogatories (a list of written questions requiring the responding party to make written responses) and a Request to Produce Documents (requiring copies of the documents requested).
  • Resolution Phase: Here the case settles and a Judgment for Dissolution and Marital Settlement Agreement is entered. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning the marital property is divided in an equitable manner, but not necessarily equally. If the parties cannot reach a settlement on the issues, the divorce case goes to trial, where the court will determine issues such as the property award and child and spousal support.

Special Situations

Not every divorce looks the same. Some cases require special handling, due to finances, family dynamics, or other unique situations. Our lawyers bring the experience necessary to expertly represent their clients even in the most challenging divorces. If you have a special situation in your divorce, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced, knowledgeable divorce attorney in Woodridge for help. Some common special situations include:

  • High-Asset Divorce: The greater the assets, the more you have to risk if your divorce is not handled properly. Our divorce attorneys handle cases for individuals with high net worth and those involving family-owned businesses. We strive to protect your pre-marital, family, and business assets, and to make sure the distribution of marital assets is equitable and fair.
  • High-Conflict Divorce: A normal divorce is difficult, but when it degenerates into a high-conflict one, you need a skilled attorney on your side. In this situation, spouses often clash; hostilities run high. They frequently take each other to court and may take out restraining or no-contact orders and accuse their partner of domestic violence, physical abuse or sexual abuse.

Major areas for high conflict include:

  • Money – After a divorce, money must support two households; divorcing partners often feel there is never enough and that they are not getting their fair share.
  • Children – Children feel as if they are being pulled in two directions when parents are in a high-conflict divorce.
  • Possessions – Who gets the house and the car are big decisions, but spouses may fight about even little items, despite the consequences in time, stress, and cost.
  • New relationships – When a spouse begins dating, jealousy raises its ugly head.
  • Revenge – High-conflict divorcing spouses often seek revenge and go to great lengths to get even, including frequent court actions and involvement of third-party investigators.

It is in your best interests to reduce the acrimony in your divorce and approach it with a level head. Let your attorneys do the talking and never make your children confidantes in the dispute. If approached by a spouse with ill will, consider avoiding direct contact if you can’t calm the situation. Do not be afraid to seek professional help.

Military Divorce: An Illinois military divorce involves different laws than a civilian one. We have the expertise to handle divorce for both service members and their spouses. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521, there are military rules and regulations for serving papers on a soldier; laws for maintenance, child and spousal support; and division of a military pension. Active duty spouses have legal protections to allow them to “devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation,” through 60 days post active duty, so there are times it is necessary to postpone the filing of your divorce papers. There are also federal laws that allow for support for former spouses of military members who served significant time in the armed forces.

Our divorce attorneys at Wolfe & Stec understand the variables that make every divorce a unique situation, including high-asset, high-conflict and military divorce. To discuss the particulars of your case, call our Woodridge office today at 630-305-0222.

Alternative Divorce Approaches

We have the skills and experience to represent all of our clients with a tailored and personal approach. That said, there are several alternatives to traditional litigation that are available to those considering divorce. These include:

  • Mediation: In some cases, couples may work out an agreement through a process called mediation. It is always better for divorcing partners to hammer out differences together rather than to submit to the final verdict of a family court judge. Mediation offers a chance for both spouses to resolve issues with the help of a neutral third party under conditions that are designed to minimize the possibility of conflict.

    With regard to custody matters, the court requires divorcing spouses to enter mediation to resolve these issues. This may not be the best course of action in some cases, and the state courts recognize this, allowing some couples to opt out if the situation warrants it — for example, where there has been domestic violence as an issue.

    There are variations to the process of divorce mediation in Illinois, including the possibility of mediation through a phone conference. To ensure that couples speak freely, nothing is submitted to the court until there is a final written agreement. Couples may decide to undergo mediation before filing a joint petition for divorce or at any time before their court date.

  • Collaborative Divorce: In a collaborative divorce, both parties agree to resolve all issues in a respectful, open and honest manner, and to focus on constructive problem-solving outside of the court system. Both spouses have their own attorneys, who are trained in the collaborative process. The attorneys make sure their clients are aware of their legal rights and obligations relating to property, alimony, and children, and they seek a satisfactory resolution for everyone concerned.

    Spouses and their attorneys sign a contract called a Participation Agreement, stating their commitment to resolving issues according to collaborative principles and guidelines. Settlement is reached through a series of meetings where the couple is guided through the process by their attorneys in a structured, non-adversarial way. Once everyone agrees, documents are prepared and presented to the judge for approval and entry of judgment. Collaborative attorneys may not continue to represent their clients if the process breaks down and goes to litigation.

  • Annulment and Void Marriages: Annulment means the marriage was never regarded as legally valid in the first place. Under Illinois law, an annulment is a “declaration of invalidity of marriage,” an order that revokes recognition by the state. Once an annulment is granted, it is as if the marriage never really existed. Annulments are hard to get, as they have strict requirements and time limits and must have specific grounds such as mental disability, being forced into marriage, bigamy or incest, or hiding one’s inability to have sexual intercourse.

If you have questions regarding alternative approaches to divorce, our team is available to help. Our breadth and depth of experience in all matters related to divorce in Illinois make us a valuable resource to the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Woodridge Divorce Attorneys Address Your Concerns

Divorce can be complicated and highly emotional. As you contemplate a new phase of your life, it is only natural that you would have questions. Below, our divorce attorney in Woodridge has provided answers to some of the more general questions we receive.

  • How long will my divorce take to become final?

    There is no simple answer to this. The time a divorce takes depends upon the issues involved. When simple and uncontested, it can take as little as two months. If it is contested and the spouses are fighting over issues such as property division, child support and custody, and spousal maintenance, divorces can, in some cases, take several years.

    One way to speed up the divorce process is to come to an amicable agreement with your spouse. The two of you can work out property division, maintenance and custody issues between yourselves. The process is more efficient if you both use attorneys to negotiate a deal that will easily be authorized by the courts.

  • When should I hire a divorce attorney?

    The short answer is right away. Knowing when to hire a divorce lawyer can make the difference between an amicable split and a drawn-out battle and can impact your final settlement. It makes sense to contact an attorney immediately, even if you are just thinking of divorce, and certainly if you have been surprised by divorce papers from your spouse.

  • Is there anything I should do prior to telling my spouse I want a divorce?

    Yes. First ensure this is what you want. Consider working with a counselor to help you sort through your feelings. Consult with an attorney to make sure all is in order; preplan and gather all your paperwork before you tell your partner anything. Then:

    • Pick a time and place so you can speak without interruptions and have plenty of time to talk.
    • Be direct, but firm, and as respectful and kind as possible. Be aware that you may encounter resistance, anger, and emotional escalation.
    • Don’t negotiate about dividing property, child support, alimony and/or your parenting plan and timesharing arrangements without guidance from the right professional.

    If you have children involved that will be impacted by the divorce, the advice of a professional counselor will be vital. It may be best, however, to keep their counsel for purposes of making the event easier rather than using the therapist as a witness – or weapon – in the divorce. To know all of your options that are specific to your situation, it’s best to consult with a divorce lawyer in Woodridge sooner rather than later. Our experienced, compassionate divorce attorney at Wolfe & Stec can guide you through the process, start to finish, explaining every choice before you at each step of the way.

  • What are some of the questions I should ask my Woodridge Divorce attorney?
    • Am I eligible for divorce in Woodridge?
    • Where and how do I file and what forms are necessary?
    • What fees and costs are involved?
    • How do i set up a parenting plan?
    • What is your experience with marital support, division of property, and high-asset cases?
    • Is mediation or collaboration available and appropriate?
    • Will the attorney handle most of my divorce or there will be an assistant who will be dealing with my case?
    • What is involved in the divorce process and how long it is likely to last?
    • What is your experience with divorce litigation, and how many cases have you tried?
  • What should I do before I file for divorce?

    The list below shares some important steps to take.

    • Plan for post-divorce life. Think about how you are going to live your life after the divorce is filed and have an idea what you will need to survive financially. Will you be able to support yourself and your children, keep your house and furniture, obtain your own health and other insurance, and get your own credit cards?
    • Evaluate your assets. Gather information and paperwork about your finances and possessions ( your home, investment property, financial accounts, and valuables).
    • Evaluate debts. Know what you and your spouse owe in terms of credit card and business debts, mortgages and loans, and any judgments against you. Order a free credit report from one or more of the major agencies (Equifax, Transunion, or Experian).
    • Engage a financial consultant. Consider hiring a financial consultant or lawyer to do a financial discovery, especially if you have a high-asset divorce.
    • Keep your non-marital property separate. Marital property consists of all assets you or your spouse acquired during the marriage and before your divorce judgment, and this is the property that will be divided by the courts. It also includes non-marital property that has been transferred into co-ownership and commingled.
    • Consult with a divorce attorney. It’s best to talk to an attorney before you file so you can be advised on all the steps you should take immediately. Only by working with a divorce lawyer early on can you get the best legal consultation for your specific situation and avoid mistakes that could hurt you later.
  • What does equitable distribution of property really mean?

    Property division in the dissolution of a marriage is governed by statute. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital property is divided equitably, not necessarily equally. All property acquired after the marriage and before a judgment of dissolution of marriage is presumed to be marital property, and this is divided without regard to marital misconduct.

    To determine what is equitable, both spouses are required to provide a complete disclosure of their financial information. You will have to provide pay stubs, income tax returns, and bank statements supporting the information listed in the affidavits. The court may also look at the dissipation of assets, tax liability, child custody and other matters.

We hope this information has answered some of your questions. That said, we recognize that you likely have a host of others, related to your unique situation. Contact our divorce lawyer in Woodridge to schedule a free consultation.

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Issues That Can Impact Your Divorce

Property and Assets

Their financial position post-divorce is of great concern for both parties, so our divorce attorneys focus on the financial planning aspects of divorce. We are familiar with the common tax, benefits and retirement issues that normally arise, but will refer you to a financial advisor if you need expert help on issues such as the short- and long-term impact of dividing property and analyzing pension and retirement plans. We can help you create a realistic budget and future spending plan. We can also connect you with a bankruptcy lawyer if this is a consideration.

Whether you have relatively few assets, or you have multiple properties, businesses, and accounts, our divorce attorneys will help protect your interests within the law.

Regarding property division, Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means marital property and debts need not be divided 50/50, but according to what the courts decide is “equitable.” The court’s property division decision is guided by twelve factors set out in the law, and it does not consider “marital misconduct” in dividing the property and debts. The factors include:

  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage
  • Dissipation of assets by each party
  • Value of property assigned to each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The relevant economic circumstances and timing
  • Prior marriages
  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements
  • Situational status
  • Custody of children — how to allocate parental responsibilities and time
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Future income
  • Tax consequences of the property distribution.

Our Woodridge divorce lawyer will review all of this with you and help you understand how this law can impact your future.

Parenting Responsibilities

Divorce is a major life-changer for children, who are bound to be affected emotionally and have fears and insecurities about their future. Will they get to see both their parents? Will they have to leave their home, school and friends? Will there be enough money for them to meet their needs?

In any divorce settlement, Illinois courts make the needs of the children a priority. Parents must devise a parenting plan that that outlines how both parents will continue to care for and provide for their children after separating.

You and your spouse ideally will work together on this. If this is not possible, or if there is significant animosity between you and your spouse, you can work separately but have attorneys come together to reach an agreement.

In making your plan, you should include all elements that are essential to your children’s physical, emotional and social needs, plus the needs and considerations of both parents. Basic plan essentials should include:

  • Parenting time schedule. The time your children will spend with each parent. Include their daily living schedules, holidays, and vacation time.
  • Parental Responsibility. State which parent will have most of the decision-making responsibilities in the major life areas, including education, medical and health situations, extra-curricular activities, and religion.
  • Parenting Guidelines. Determine the rules that both parents agree to follow as they raise their children.
  • Travel. Designate how much vacation time each parent has and include provisions about traveling and relocating if parents move a long distance.
  • Financial information. Include financial information about child support, claiming children as dependents for taxes, and handling reimbursement for extra expenses.
  • Revisions. Identify how both parents will revise the plan if it becomes necessary or desirable, and a way to resolve disagreements about potential revisions..

Matters Related to Divorce

The number of issues that are related to and can impact your divorce are considerable. At Wolf & Stec, our Woodridge divorce lawyers are well-versed in all of them. They have helped countless individuals through the challenging processes of their divorce and are ready to leverage their experience for you. Among the additional issues with which we can help are:

Additionally, we are experienced in representing all types of families, including same-sex couples. We also represent both men and women as they embark on the process of divorce. We made a commitment to helping all individuals navigate the divorce process and embark on a new and exciting future.

Why Wolf & Stec?

Experience, Knowledge and Approach

The veteran divorce attorneys at Wolfe & Stec know the intricacies of Illinois divorce law, and we handle the full scope of divorce and related family law issues. Whether your case is simple or complex, amicable or contentious, we work hard to ensure it is resolved expeditiously and fairly, with minimal stress. Out of our Woodridge office, our divorce lawyers serve clients throughout DuPage County and surrounding counties.

Our divorce attorney is Woodridge is:

  • Committed to you: We support your basic philosophy toward divorce, are trustworthy, and focus on your comfort.
  • Knowledgeable: We act according to the professional ethics of the industry, treat you with the respect and attention you deserve, and always focus on your needs.
  • Client focused: We communicate consistently and clearly and know how to negotiate.
  • Reputable: Our reputation in Woodridge is unequalled, and we know the local the judges and courts.
  • Supportive: We understand the importance of both your needs and those of your children. All actions are taken in the best interests of your family.
  • Reasonably priced: We have made a commitment to providing affordable service and always discuss our fee structures up front. Developing a plan that works for you is our goal.

We Are Ready to Go to Work For You

Keys to Hiring a Woodridge Divorce Lawyer

When hiring a divorce attorney, it makes sense to start by asking for recommendations from friends and family members who have gone through the process. Another good source is online research; review the websites of attorneys who handle your type of divorce situation. It may even be helpful to consult a local finding service that provides quality-assured lawyer directories and can connect you to an experienced lawyer in your area.

Once you have come up with several choices, take advantage of the free consultations offered and interview these attorneys to see whether you feel comfortable with them. Have questions ready to ask so you can determine whether the attorney has the experience, objectivity, and knowledge to represent you during the divorce proceedings, shares your divorce philosophies, is affordable, and is a good fit for you. Ask about how they would handle elements of a divorce that apply to your situation, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, etc. We believe you will find positive answers to these questions when you contact Wolfe & Stec.

Contact Our Woodridge Divorce Lawyers Today

Illinois divorce law is complicated and changing, and the facts and circumstances of each case are unique; it makes sense to seek legal counsel to represent your interests. The skilled Woodridge divorce lawyers at Wolfe & Stec can advise and guide you through every step in the process.

For your initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate divorce lawyer, contact us online or call 630-305-0222. We handle cases throughout Illinois.

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Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]

Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

3321 Hobson Road, Suite B
Woodridge, IL 60517
Phone: 630-305-0222

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