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Elmhurst petition for divorce attorneySometimes, when a couple decides to get a divorce, both spouses are on the same page. In other situations, a spouse may be caught totally off guard when he or she is served with divorce papers. Regardless of what led up to this moment, once you have been served with a divorce petition, you need to take several important actions. You may understandably be very upset about what has happened, and you may be tempted to ignore the petition or even throw it away. However, doing so will only worsen your situation.

Read the Petition Entirely

The first step you should take after receiving a petition for the dissolution of marriage is to actually read the document. This may seem obvious, but many people jump to conclusions without reading the entire petition. The document will explain that your spouse is requesting a divorce. It will likely include statements and requests about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, spousal maintenance, property division, and other divorce-related issues. Once you understand what your spouse is asking for, you can respond appropriately.

Retain an Experienced Attorney

An attorney is not required to get divorced in Illinois. However, your attorney can help you interpret the petition and understand what your spouse is requesting. Your attorney can also provide legal support throughout the duration of your divorce case. Hiring an attorney does not mean that you intend to take your case to trial or make the situation any more contentious than it already is. It simply means that you now have a legal advocate on your side who can explain your legal rights and options and help you take the steps needed to resolve your divorce.


Wheaton, IL family law attorney DIY divorce disadvantagesIn today’s modern world, we can pay our bills, conduct work meetings, do our taxes, and complete other important tasks all from our home computer or smartphone. If you are thinking about divorce, you may be interested in your options for an “online divorce” or “do-it-yourself divorce.” These options often seem attractive because they have low up-front costs and appear simpler than a traditional divorce. However, many people find that DIY divorces end up being disastrous.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Do-it-Yourself Divorce

A quick search of the term “online divorce” results in thousands of results for allegedly quick and easy ways to end your marriage online. Unfortunately, divorce is rarely a quick and easy process. There are certainly some things you can do to make the divorce process easier, but no divorce is completely painless. The main advantage of DIY divorce or online divorce services is that they often have a low starting fee. However, many people find that the financial harm resulting from a hasty divorce greatly outweighs these savings. When you use an online or DIY divorce service, you miss out on the personalized legal guidance you gain from working with an attorney. You may make mistakes or oversights that result in avoidable stress, financial losses, and legal headaches.  

The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Working with an attorney during divorce has many benefits. Your attorney will get to know you and your unique situation. He or she can develop a personalized divorce plan that takes into account your individual needs and goals. Your attorney’s job is to advocate on your behalf during your divorce and represent your best interests. Working with an attorney also decreases the likelihood of mistakes that can complicate or slow down the divorce process. Your attorney can help you with concerns related to the division of marital property and debt, parenting time and parental responsibilities, spousal maintenance, possession of the marital home, and many other issues. For many, the greatest benefit of working with an attorney during divorce is simply the peace of mind they gain.   


DuPage County divorce attorney for temporary reliefThe legal process of ending a marriage is not always easy. Delays and complications may cause a divorce to take up to a year or more. Spouses may need to address how divorce issues such as property division, child custody, and child support should be handled while the divorce is ongoing. In Illinois, spouses may address these concerns by petitioning the court for “temporary relief” or temporary orders.

Temporary Relief Orders Can Protect Assets and Address Possession of the Marital Home

Just like the final divorce decree, temporary orders are legally-binding court orders that spouses are required to follow. Unlike the final decree, temporary orders are only intended to last until the divorce is finalized. Many temporary court orders address financial issues. A temporary financial restraining order may freeze bank accounts, prohibit spouses from disposing of marital property, or identify which spouse will have exclusive possession of the marital home. Divorcing spouses may even ask for a temporary order to address possession of and responsibility for pets.

Other types of temporary orders may address issues such as child support and spousal maintenance. The need for these temporary orders will be based on the spouses’ financial affidavits. Records such as bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns and decisions about the allocation of parenting time may be used to determine an appropriate temporary child support or spousal support order. It is important to note that the final orders may differ significantly from temporary orders in an Illinois divorce.


Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for asserting your rightsNarcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental health condition found in several highly-regarded mental health guidebooks, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The disorder is characterized by an excessive need for praise and attention, unstable interpersonal relationships, lack of empathy, and an inflated ego. The term “narcissist” is also commonly used colloquially to describe an individual who is arrogant, unsympathetic, and easily angered. Divorcing a narcissist can be an extremely frustrating and complicated endeavor. If your spouse is a narcissist, you may encounter some or all of the following issues:

You May Be Unable to Negotiate an Agreement on Your Own

Whether your spouse has been formally diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or not, divorcing someone with an inflated sense of self and a lack of empathy will be an arduous experience. In order to resolve your divorce and move on with your life, you and your spouse will need to reach an agreement about the terms of the divorce. Depending on your situation, this may mean addressing property division, debt division, child custody, child support, and/or spousal maintenance. Reaching an agreement about divorce issues with a spouse who is unwilling or unable to compromise may be nearly impossible. An attorney may be able to help you negotiate a settlement, or your case may go to trial.  

You May Need to Assert Your Rights

When there is a major power imbalance in a divorce, it is highly recommended for the spouse at a disadvantage to retain a qualified attorney. You have the right to an equitable division of the marital estate as well as a fair resolution to other divorce issues. It is important to assert these rights during your divorce. Letting your spouse walk all over you will do nothing to improve your situation. Some spouses hope that if they approach the divorce amicably, their spouse will show them the same kindness. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case when divorcing a narcissist.


DuPage County divorce attorney asset division

If you are considering divorce, you may understandably be feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. The idea of dealing with the court system can be daunting – especially if you have never stepped foot inside of a courtroom before. Your confusion and anxiety may be exacerbated by well-intentioned friends and family who give you divorce advice that is simply untrue or does not apply to Illinois divorce cases. Fortunately, you do not have to face divorce alone. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to give you the legal guidance you need to manage this difficult time in your life and move on to a brighter future.

Myth: I Will Need to Prove That My Spouse Did Something Wrong to Be Granted a Divorce

When a married individual files a petition for divorce, called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Illinois, they are essentially asking the judge to grant him or her a divorce. In the past, Illinois had both fault and no-fault grounds, or reasons, for divorce. Fault-based grounds were issues such as infidelity or mental cruelty. However, Illinois has since eliminated all fault-based grounds for divorce. Now, the only available ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.”

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