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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
Wheaton Family Law Attorney
Recent blog posts

wheaton divorce lawyerFor some people, the initial shock of finding out their spouse committed a crime that landed them in an Illinois jail is a divorceable offense the first time it happens. Others may have given a spouse chance after chance and finally cannot take their behavior any longer. For victims of domestic violence, jail time may also offer an opportunity to finally escape the jailed abuser without fear of reprisal. Whatever the situation may be, having a spouse in jail can be overwhelming and divorce is often a natural consequence. 

Do I Have to Wait For My Spouse to Get Out of Jail to File For Divorce? 

You do not need to prove that your spouse was at fault to get divorced in Illinois and whether your spouse is in prison does not affect whether you can file for divorce. In fact, in some ways it may be easier to file for divorce because the spouse’s location is known and it is easier to serve divorce papers. You must include your spouse’s inmate number, which you can find on the Illinois Department of Corrections website, on your divorce filing. Make sure you pay any filing and serving fees and get confirmation that your spouse received the papers. 

Once your spouse has received the divorce papers, the divorce more or less proceeds as usual. If you and your spouse can agree to the terms of divorce, you can have an uncontested divorce and the process can be finalized quickly. Your spouse will simply need to sign the papers and you can finalize the divorce in court. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerMarried couples in Illinois must navigate a complex variety of issues to keep a marriage healthy and happy. In addition to financial concerns, raising children, managing careers, and running a household, couples must also try to maintain a close sexual and emotional relationship. Unsurprisingly, sex is one of the issues couples most often experience conflict over. If the issues are serious enough, disagreement about sex can lead to divorce.  

In some cases, issues around sex are present from the beginning of the relationship. Other times, they take years to develop and only become existentially threatening after a variety of treatment methods have been exhausted. If you are in a sexually dysfunctional marriage and are wondering whether you are justified in seeking a divorce, know that some people in your situation have decided that a lifetime of sexual dissatisfaction is a good enough reason to end a relationship while others have decided to stay married. The right choice for you will depend on many factors.  However, knowing more about your legal options may help you feel empowered to make a decision. 

Sexual Dysfunction and Annulment

Annulment, called a “declaration of invalidity of marriage” in Illinois, is only available in specific, limited circumstances. If two people got married and the couple discovers that one spouse lacks the capacity to sexually consummate the marriage, this is grounds for declaring the marriage invalid. Petitioning to declare the marriage invalid must happen within a year of discovering one spouse is unable to have sex.

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wheaton divorce lawyerGetting sole custody of a child is difficult in Illinois and many fathers who have tried would argue that it is even more difficult if you are not a child’s mother. Judges are reluctant to keep a child away from a parent without a compelling reason, and although many parents dislike their ex’s parenting style, few behaviors are serious enough to warrant giving full parental responsibilities and parenting time to just one parent. 

In genuine cases of abuse or neglect, Illinois courts can and do restrict the abusive parent’s access to a child, either by heavily limiting contact or curtailing it entirely. Yet the difficulty of bringing such a case before a judge should not dissuade fathers who are concerned their children are suffering. If you find yourself wondering whether you may be able to get full custody of your children in Illinois, read this blog and then contact a custody modification attorney who can help. 

When is a Parent Unfit in Illinois? 

Because Illinois law recognizes that children do best when both parents play a substantial role in their lives, parents are rarely deemed unfit even when their parenting style leaves much to be desired. However, there are some parental behaviors that do merit either significant restriction or complete termination of parental rights in Illinois. This include: 

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wheaton divorce lawyerThe decision to get an Illinois divorce after discovering a spouse’s infidelity can often be as heartbreaking as finding out about the cheating itself. In addition to the feelings of confusion, hurt, betrayal, and loneliness, you may also begin feeling guilt, sadness, and self-doubt. And of course, infidelity breeds distrust and contempt, making it difficult to work collaboratively during the divorce process. 

While all of these things are difficult, the unfortunate truth is that, in Illinois, infidelity generally does not have an impact on divorce proceedings. This can feel extremely unfair to the party who was faithful, especially if that party ends up paying the cheating spouse alimony or child support. But while the divorce may not be affected by the infidelity in and of itself, certain behaviors commonly associated with cheating during a marriage can affect parts of the divorce process, giving the spouse who has been cheated on some relief. 

Wasted Assets

Illinois requires marital assets to be divided fairly, rather than equally. Several factors can affect the division of assets, and in the case of infidelity, one common factor is asset dissipation. Asset dissipation - or wasted marital assets - often occurs when one spouse begins spending money on a new partner. Gifts, dinners, vacations, hotels - these all cost money, and as long as spouses are married, income earned by both partners is considered marital property. If you can gather documentation proving that your spouse spent marital property while courting their new partner, you may be able to successfully prove asset dissipation and receive a greater share of assets in the asset division. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerWhile divorce is not easy for a separating couple, children can become the unfortunate catch-all for the more serious negative consequences of divorce. Lacking understanding and context, children often suffer the impact of parents who disagree about child support, custody arrangements, or who simply use the children as a proxy to fight out their personal differences.

When parents are diametrically opposed in their wishes regarding what should happen with the children, or when accusations of abuse and neglect have been made, a court may appoint an independent third party to investigate the situation more closely to determine what would be in a child’s best interests. This person is called a guardian ad litem. Finding out a guardian ad litem will be involved in your case can be uncomfortable; you may like you have done something wrong or that you are under close supervision. However, guardians ad litem are common in contested parenting cases and understanding their role is an important part of making the investigation go smoothly. 

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do? 

Tasked with discovering a child’s best interests, guardians ad litem do a deep dive into a child’s living situation with both parents. Because contested parenting time and parental responsibility cases often involve the potential relocation of a child from living in one area to another, the guardian ad litem must investigate how adjusted a child is to her environment and the potential impact of moving to another environment. 

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