Why You Need An Attorney For Your Divorce
If you are going through a divorce, you may be tempted to handle it yourself, but this could be a costly mistake. Even if you and your spouse agree and the divorce is friendly, this often changes without warning as unexpected situations arise. Issues arise with children; spouses become jealous or spiteful over new relationships or the fact that they perceive that you may be coming out ahead financially, etc. 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 last a lifetime.
An attorney will make sure you get it right the first time. The experienced and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., always focus on our clients’ needs and feelings, and we work to resolve the issues they are facing in the most effective and efficient manner. We offer a free consultation to help you find the best solutions for your individual divorce situation. With office locations in Woodridge and Chicago, we represent clients throughout the entire Chicagoland area. Call our DuPage County divorce attorneys today at 630-305-0222 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Here are some reasons to hire a divorce attorney:
The Divorce Process is Complex and Changing
In January, 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was revised, and attorneys can help you through the steps and processes and explain the changes.
- Grounds — In Illinois, you start the divorce process by filing a divorce petition at the local courthouse, which must be done correctly. Illinois has done away with the nine “fault-based” grounds for divorce, leaving irreconcilable differences as the only available basis for getting a divorce. If you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least six months, it is assumed that you have irreconcilable differences.
In the petition, the petitioner must ask for what he or she wants in the matters of equitable division of property, spousal support, and child custody or visitation arrangements. An attorney can help here, especially since this is another area where there have been changes in the law and in terminology.
- Custody and Visitation — Under the new law, the old way of determining sole or joint custody has been abolished. When determining what was formerly known as “parental custody” of a child, the court is now required to “allocate parental responsibilities.” One parent may still have most of the decision-making responsibilities in the major areas of life, including health, education, and religious upbringing, or these responsibilities may be split between the parents. “Parenting time” is the new term for Children may spend most of their time with one parent, or they may split their time fairly evenly with both. This is determined based on what the court feels is in the child’s best interests.
- Division of Property — Once the divorce petition is served to your spouse, he or she has 30 days to file a response. If no answer is given, the judge can divide the marital property and grant the divorce by default judgment. If an answer is filed, the next step is discovery — an investigation into both spouses’ financial situation so the judge can divide marital property fairly.
As part of the divorce process, both spouses are required to provide a complete disclosure of their financial information — incomes, assets, and debts. You will have to provide pay stubs, income tax returns, and bank statements supporting the information listed in the affidavits. If inaccurate information is provided, the court can impose monetary penalties.
- Trial — If you and your spouse can’t negotiate a settlement in regard to all the property, custody and visitation issues, you will have to go to a pretrial conference with a judge who will make recommendations for a settlement.
If you still cannot agree, you may have to go through an expensive divorce trial after which the judge decides the issues and gives a final divorce judgment. The value of a couple’s marital assets will be assessed at the trial date, and, if necessary, the judge may appoint a financial expert.With so much at stake, you don’t want to go to trial without an attorney’s assistance.
Divorce Attorneys Know the Law
Every divorce case is different, and a local attorney will know your rights under the Illinois legal system. Even if your divorce is uncontested, an attorney can tell you if the agreement is fair. If the divorce is contested, your attorney will advocate for your best interests in court. Attorneys can help you divide assets properly by using legal discovery methods such as depositions, subpoenas and requests for your spouse to produce documents. And even after the divorce, your attorney will take care of paperwork, follow-up tasks, and return to court should additional problems arise.
Contact Us For Help And a Free Consultation
Illinois laws and guidelines can be difficult to interpret, and making a mistake could mean returning to court and nasty and costly drawn-out battles that adversely affect you and your children. Fortunately, there is help available when you have a lawyer on your side. The seasoned Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec handle all cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.
At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time, and we put every ounce of our ability into each case. There are no ready-made solutions in divorce and family law – every case needs to be considered on its own merit. Our lawyers take the time to delve deeply into the problem and to understand your goals and concerns. Then we develop a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives.
There is no charge for the first consultation, and we are happy to schedule appointments at our offices. Delaying can only complicate your situation and make matters worse. Call us today for your free consultation at 630-305-0222 or contact our team online.