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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

Wheaton lawyer for filing for divorceCOVID-19 has deeply affected millions of Americans. Many have faced job loss or reduced work hours because of shutdowns. Others have had to quit their jobs to be at home with their children during remote learning. If you are in a difficult financial position and want to file for divorce, you may have concerns about how your financial hardship may affect your situation. You may have heard that there was a mandatory separation period before a couple could get divorced but are unsure of what exactly is required. If you and your ex cannot afford to live in separate homes, can you still be granted a divorce?

Changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Address the Separation Period

Major changes to the laws that govern marriage and divorce in Illinois were enacted in 2016. Among the many changes was a modernization of the “grounds” or reasons that a spouse may request a divorce. Before the changes, spouses could claim fault-based grounds for divorce, such as impotence, infidelity, abuse, or drug addiction. Following the change, all of the fault-based grounds have been abolished.

There is now only one no-fault ground available for divorce in Illinois: irreconcilable differences. If you wish to file for divorce under no-fault grounds, you must state that:

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Wheaton, IL high conflict divorce lawyerIf you are planning to get a divorce, you may be concerned about how conflict with your spouse will affect the divorce process. In an ideal world, divorcing spouses would be cooperative, cordial, and kind to each other. However, the reality is that some divorce cases are filled with bitterness and disputes from beginning to end. Regardless of why your divorce is contentious, working with a skilled lawyer is one of the best ways to avoid drama during your divorce. Your lawyer can help you properly prepare for the divorce so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Take Stock of Your Financial Situation

If you suspect that your divorce will be less than pleasant, it is important to prepare for divorce in advance. One issue you should be concerned with is whether your spouse will be truthful and forthcoming about financial information. Finances can influence everything from child support to the division of marital assets and debts, so having an accurate assessment of your finances and your spouse’s finances is essential. Take inventory of your income, assets, debts, and expenses. Gather tax returns, bank statements, loan documents, and other financial information. You may also want to take photographs of valuable personal property in case your spouse tries to hide or destroy it.

Build Your Support System

A high-conflict divorce is likely going to be one of the most difficult things you ever go through. It is crucial that you set up a strong support system. Let your close friends and family know how they can best support you during this challenging period in your life. You may also want to seek professional guidance from a counselor, therapist, or religious authority.  

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Wheaton family law attorney for divorce petitionsMarriages end for innumerable reasons. Sometimes, one spouse wants the divorce, while the other spouse believes that the marriage is salvageable. Other times, the spouses both agree that it is time to call it quits. Whatever your situation, you may have questions about the divorce process and how to get started. One particular question you may be asking yourself is, “Does it matter which spouse files for divorce?”

The Basics of Filing for Divorce in Illinois

In Illinois, a divorce is called a Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. To file for divorce in Illinois, at least one of the spouses must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing the petition. 

Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the spouses will not be asked to assign blame for the marriage ending. The only grounds for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” When determining the terms of a divorce, Illinois courts do not consider which spouse is the petitioner and which is the respondent. Both spouses are treated equally under the law.

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DuPage County divorce attorney for children and datingWhether you are planning to get a divorce, or you have already begun the process of ending your marriage, you have probably thought about dating. One of the silver linings of divorce is that the spouses are free to search for new romantic partners who are a better match for them. Getting back into the dating world after being married can be exciting. However, when you are a parent, there are additional issues to consider. One of these issues is when to introduce a new partner to your children. There is no perfect time to introduce a new partner, but there are certain considerations you could keep in mind when dating after divorce.

Wait Until After the Divorce Is Complete

Most experts suggest waiting to date until after your divorce is finalized. However, no one can predict when they will meet the right person. If you already have a new romantic interest, and your divorce is not complete, it may be best to avoid introducing the new partner to your children until the divorce is finalized. 

Divorce can have a major impact on children. Kids whose parents are divorcing may worry that their parents will abandon them or that they will no longer have a family. Children often feel possessive toward their parents, and they may see the new partner as a threat or as something that will negatively impact their family relationships. Introducing a new partner before the divorce is complete can also increase the tension and stress during the divorce process. Your spouse may be offended, and they may act out in revenge and attempt to make the divorce more drawn out and difficult.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for infidelity and asset dissipationCheating and affairs in a marriage often lead to divorce. In some cases, spouses file for divorce immediately after the affair comes to light. In other cases, a couple may try to salvage their marriage after an affair, but they may ultimately decide that too much damage to the relationship has occurred. If you have found yourself in this situation, you may be unsure of what to do. Whether the unfaithful partner was you or your spouse, you probably have questions about how marital infidelity can influence an Illinois divorce. Regardless of the exact circumstances, infidelity can lead to additional contention and confusion in a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can help.  

Grounds for Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. The state’s laws previously included fault-based “grounds” or reasons for divorce, such as abandonment, cruelty, and infidelity. However, Illinois has since eliminated these grounds. Now, the only grounds available when filing for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” Infidelity or other reasons for ending their marriage will not be included in a spouse’s petition for divorce.

Financial Implications of an Affair

Although there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois, a spouse’s infidelity can still impact the divorce. If a spouse used marital funds or property to finance their affair, the other spouse may file a “dissipation of assets” claim against him or her. According to Illinois case law, dissipation occurs when a spouse uses marital property on a purpose not related to the marriage while the marriage is undergoing an irreversible breakdown. Funds spent on gifts or vacations with an affair partner may be considered dissipated assets. During the divorce process, the spouse who dissipated the assets may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the value of those assets.

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