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Getting A Divorce During COVID-19 In Illinois

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illinois-covid-divorce_20231011-172230_1.jpgIf you’ve made the decision to move forward with a divorce, you’re not alone. Divorce rates have skyrocketed this year compared to years past, and many believe this spike is in part caused by additional stress fueled by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the pandemic is also affecting how the courts are handling divorce proceedings. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how Illinois is handling divorces during the pandemic, and what you should do if you’re planning on moving forward with a divorce during these turbulent times.

Divorcing In Illinois Amid The Coronavirus

As we mentioned in the intro, we’re seeing a noticeable increase in the amount of divorce proceedings in Illinois and across the United States. Statistics show that the number of couples interested in a divorce between March and June increased 34 percent compared to the same time period in 2019. This may seem like a stark increase, but it’s not without reason. That time period is generally considered the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

During this time, people were being laid off from work as businesses closed their doors, others were trying to do their best to work from home, and many parents were trying to juggle schooling and childcare as schools and daycares told kids to stay home. Add in the fact that people were getting sick and we were advised to limit in-person contact, and all of these factors greatly increased stress in our lives. Everyone handles this stress differently, and while sometimes it can make couples stronger, stress can also amplify issues in a relationship and lead to irreconcilable differences.


child-support-arrangement.jpgEven in amicable divorces, establishing child custody arraignments can become complex and complicated in a hurry. There’s also the very real possibility that circumstances change that warrant an adjustment to a child custody agreement. But if you are dissatisfied with your current agreement, how can you go about changing the current order? We explain how you do this, and how a lawyer can help with the process in today’s blog.

Modifying Child Custody In Illinois

In a standard child custody case, Illinois requires that at least two years have passed since the original child custody agreement was signed. So if you’re three months into an arrangement and you’re frustrated with how it’s going, it’s unlikely that a court will modify the arraignment. There are circumstances where they will make changes before two years have passed, and we’ll touch on those below, but the goal of a child custody agreement is to foster stability in a child’s life, so changes within the first two years can prove difficult, especially if one party objects to the changes.

Before we cover changes within two years, let’s look at modification requests after at least two years have passed. In order to have child custody modified after this period, you must show that there has been a change in circumstances since the original agreement. This change can be in the life of the child, in your life, or in the life of your former spouse. Some common changes include:


Regardless of whether you’re parting on peaceful terms or it is a less than amicable split, a divorce can be a stressful situation that leaves you with more questions than answers. One of the most common questions we hear in our family law division is whether or not you need a lawyer to help with your divorce.

We’re always careful with how we answer that question, because the short answer is no, you do not need a lawyer in order to process and finalize your divorce. However, you’ll almost assuredly want one. We explain why in today’s blog.

Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer?

When someone asks us if they need a lawyer for their divorce, even if they are splitting on good terms with their spouse, we liken the situation to whether or not you need a mechanic for a check engine problem in your car. Even if you understand cars better than the average person, it’s not a simple process to fix a major check engine problem. You have to run a diagnostics test to figure out what’s wrong, order the right parts, watch Youtube videos of how to fix the problem and then perform the maintenance yourself. It’s going to take significant time and effort, and if one little thing is wrong, it can cause major problems when you’re cruising on the highway.


5 Actions that Could Hurt Your Child Custody Case

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Whether you’re going through a divorce or a breakup, the matter becomes significantly more complex if children are involved. Even when the split is mutual, figuring out a child custody agreement can be difficult, and many times parents can’t come to a decision and the court has to get involved. It’s always best to try to settle things with the other party instead of it being up to a judge, but if it ends up being decided by a family law judge, they will look at a number of different factors to develop a child custody agreement.

But what factors will they look at, and what choices could negatively affect your chances of getting a favorable child custody agreement? We take a closer look at some factors that could hurt your child custody case in Illinois in today’s blog.

What Could Tank Your Child Custody Case?

Here’s a look at a number of the factors a judge will look at when determining the best arrangement for a child in the wake of a parental split.


How Is Debt Divided During A Divorce In Illinois

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During a divorce, the separating parties, a mediator or a judge will decide how assets and properties are divided during a divorce. However, there is another financial aspect of a divorce that should not be overlooked when splitting – debt. Illinois considers debt marital property, but that doesn’t mean any debt is going to be divided 50-50. Below, we explain how debt is divided during a divorce, and we explain why having a family law attorney by your side during this process is essential.

Dividing Debt During A Divorce

Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state, which means that debt will be distributed fairly, not 50-50, between the couple. As you might have guessed, there are a number of factors that helps to determine what is fair when dividing debt. When the debt was incurred, whether the debt was for marital property and how much debt remaining all factor into this equation.

For example, if you and your spouse each bought a vehicle during your marriage and are now filing for divorce, you may assume that you’ll just keep your car and they’ll keep their vehicle. But if your spouse’s vehicle is paid off, and you still owe $15,000 on your truck’s loan, each taking a vehicle isn’t exactly a fair split. And while the judge won’t order your spouse to help out with payments on your truck, you may get more assets during property division since you’re also taking on more debt by keeping the truck.


A divorce is the most common way for two individuals to end their marriage, but it’s not the only way. Individuals unsatisfied with their marriage can also petition for what’s known as an annulment. The key difference between the two is that in a divorce, the state views the parties as having separated after marriage, while in an annulment, the state views the marriage as invalid and as if it never happened in the first place. One process is the legal ending of a valid marriage, and the other is the legal ending of what the parties hope to get declared an invalid marriage.

However, when it comes to an annulment, there are some more factors that need to be present and timelines that need to be met in order for the marriage to be declared invalid. We explore those factors and timelines in today’s blog.

Getting An Annulment in Illinois

Many individuals seek an annulment because of how their religion views divorce, but ultimately it doesn’t matter why you’re seeking an annulment as long as you meet the requirements for pursuing an annulment. You can file for divorce for something as general as irreconcilable differences, but for an annulment, you need to prove that one of these four reasons exist in your marriage. The four grounds for annulment in Illinois are:


Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Illinois

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If the honeymoon phase is both literally and figuratively over in your marriage, you and your partner may decide that it is in both of your best interests to get a divorce. In Illinois, there are two different types of divorce – contested and uncontested. Even if you both agree that you want a divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have an uncontested divorce, so to better help you understand divorce in Illinois, we break down both options in today’s blog.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is the simpler form of the two divorces, but even if you both agree that you want a quick and easy divorce, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically guaranteed an uncontested divorce. Both parties need to agree that they want a divorce in order to pursue an uncontested divorce, but they also need to come to agreement on many other items, including but not limited to:

  • Property and asset division
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Child custody

Now, it’s also worth noting that just because you don’t see eye to eye on some asset division or custody matter, it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically headed for a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is all about give and take and the ability to negotiate. If, however, you’re both dead set on getting full custody or taking the vacation home you purchased together, you may need to consider a contested divorce.


Following a divorce, the court may order that one spouse pay a monthly support payment to their former spouse as a way of helping each party become self-sufficient following the split. A number of factors go into the award amount, but the point of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both parties come out of the split with the financial means to support themselves.

However, circumstances can always change, and the factors that go into a monthly spousal maintenance award can be influenced by these changes. For example, maybe you lost your job, or your spouse got a raise and is making more money. These factors and more can impact how much you need to pay in spousal maintenance each month, but how do you go about modifying your previous agreement? We explain how we can help you modify your spousal support payments in today’s blog.

Terminating Alimony Payments in Illinois

For starters, it’s worth noting that even if you are in the process of modifying or terminating your spousal maintenance award, you must continue to pay the original agreed upon amount until a new agreement is finalized by the court. Even if things change, you owe the original amount until a modification has been granted.


Money is at the top of mind for most people when they are looking to hire an attorney. This is especially true in divorce cases, with many clients concerned with asset division and the like. As a result, many people tend to gravitate toward the cheapest legal option. But that can often end up costing you in the long term. In this article, we are going to discuss a few hidden issues with “cheap” divorces that can end up costing you more than you think in the long run.

Hidden Fees & Costs

If you see an advertisement for a “$99 Divorce” you need to be aware of other hidden costs and fees that are not included in that cost. For example, you may need to pay court filing fees, and costs for additional paperwork that may come up during the course of the proceedings. These fees can add up and are often not included in the advertised price.

Lack of Experience

Many attorneys or firms that advertise low cost divorce options do not have a lot of experience working on divorce cases. Sometimes a law clerk will be assigned to handle the vast majority of your paperwork, with an actual attorney only looking at the finalized documents for a few minutes before signing.


A Guide to Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

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There are many elements of any given divorce case – from child custody to asset division. In this article, we will guide you through the spousal maintenance process in Illinois and highlight some of the things you need to be aware of when it comes to this topic.

Defining Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is essential a way of distributing marital property assets in a divorce case. Oftentimes in a divorce case, one party makes more (or has the ability to make more) than the other party. During a marriage, this is not typically an issue, as both parties can share these assets. However, during a divorce this can be a huge point of contention.

Temporary vs. Permanent

There are two basic types of spousal maintenance in Illinois – temporary and permanent. Temporary spousal maintenance is typically ordered as a temporary measure during the divorce proceedings while a more permanent solution is found. Permanent spousal maintenance is a long-term agreement that governs the future finances of both parties after the divorce.

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