“I will happily recommend Marcia to all my friends who have to go through a divorce. I really appreciate her support and help. It added much needed competence and comfort in a challenging situation.”
Divorce is the legal (government) end of a marriage. To obtain a divorce in Illinois one spouse usually files a petition for dissolution in the office of the court clerk for the county where the person lives. The other person must receive notice of the case, which can be done by giving a summons and a copy of the petition to the sheriff to serve the person.
Once served, the respondent has 30 days to go to court and file an appearance either pro se (by him/herself) or through a lawyer.
Whichever side you are on, we’ll work with you. We’ll discuss your situation and be sure your interests are fully considered.
Both parties should have full disclosure from the other of assets and debts. They must then decide, usually with the help of their respective attorneys, how to divide both the assets and debts. The parties also must consider maintenance (alimony), and if one party is entitled to receive it, how much the support should be and how long it should continue.
If the parties are unable to agree, then the lawyers go to a judge and try to reach a settlement through a pre-trial conference; but if that is unsuccessful, a trial will have to take place and the judge will decide all issues. We’ll be there to represent you every step of the way.
The other major area that must be considered is children. That topic is covered in the next section, custody/support.
Custody of children is now defined in Illinois law as allocation of parental responsibilities-decision making and parenting time.
Joint decision making by both parties regarding major areas such as education, medical treatment, religion and extra-curricular activities is frequently agreed to by the parties or, if appropriate, ordered by the court. However, in some situations it is not in the best interests of the child and then one parent is allocated sole decision making.
We’ll talk with you about various options and help you work toward a resolution that is in the best interest of you and your child/children.
Independent of decision making is the allocation of parenting time. That is the determination of which parent the child will be with on which days and times. Holidays and vacations should also be included in the written terms of allocation of parenting time.
We’ll explain options and help you develop a schedule for your unique situation.
Child support is paid by one parent to the other. There is a formula described in the statute for calculating support. The formula takes into account both parents’ incomes. The former rule requiring a percentage of the payor’s net income be paid as child support is no longer in effect.
We have the formulas and software to help you understand what’s expected.
Assets held by the parties must be valued before they are divided between the spouses.
Value can be determined by agreement or by a professional appraiser. If appraisers disagree as to the value of an asset, the question will be put before a judge who will decide.
In high net worth estates valuation is often complicated. If one of the parties is self-employed or a shareholder in a closed corporation, the person’s income is more difficult to know than if he/she receives a W-2 at the end of the year. If one or both of the parties own a business, such as a restaurant or other service business, the business income and expenses can be very difficult to determine accurately and often require the assistance of a professional.
We have the experience and experts to help you navigate this challenging process. We understand the complexity of these situations.
Equal division between the parties is not required but the division should be equitable (fair). The court is not to take into account bad behavior of either party when it allocates assets and debts. Allocation can be disproportionate, depending on many factors, such as ability to earn income, age of the party, length of marriage.
We’re here to listen and work with you to help you reach an equitable resolution of your valuation and property division issues.
Ask a question or book an appointment using the form below.
Marcia S. Lipkin
P.O. Box 30
Park Ridge, IL 60068