If you want to file for divorce in central Illinois or are already dealing with legal proceedings, do not hesitate to contact Bruno Law Offices. We can protect your interests and guide you through every stage of the process.
Divorce and other family law issues can be stressful. Dividing assets with your ex or seeking custody of your children is emotionally draining. You should not leave the fate of your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney.
Let Bruno Law Offices represent you during your divorce or other family law matter. We have helped Illinois clients with their legal challenges for over 35 years. Call us at (217) 328-6000 for a confidential consultation with an experienced Champaign-Urbana family lawyer to learn more about what we can do for you.
Family Law Cases We Handle
At Bruno Law Offices, we represent clients in various family law cases, such as:
- Divorce and separation
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance/support
- Domestic violence and protection orders
- Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements
- Property division
- Post-decree modifications
- Paternity and father’s rights
- Grandparents’ rights
Requirements to File for Divorce in Illinois
In Illinois, you must meet specific requirements before filing for divorce. According to 750 ILCS § 5/401(a), at least one spouse must live in the state for at least 90 days before filing. You can divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. State law doesn’t require either party to prove the other’s actions caused the marriage to end.
The court will consider irreconcilable differences acceptable grounds for divorce if:
- Irreconcilable differences caused the marriage’s irretrievable breakdown, and efforts at reconciliation have failed, or future efforts will be impracticable and not in the family’s best interests; or
- The spouses have resided separately and continuously for at least six months prior to entering a divorce judgment.
While negotiating the terms of your divorce, you and your ex can resolve various legal issues, such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody if you have kids.
Filing for a Contested Divorce vs. an Uncontested Divorce
You can choose from two types of divorce – contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is much simpler. It means both spouses agree about legal issues, such as property division, alimony, and child support.
A contested divorce involves disagreements on at least one of the issues that must be resolved by the divorce. The court must intervene to resolve the matter. However, this can present challenges because each party has little to no control over the outcome. Instead of the parties deciding on the divorce terms, a judge can rule on each aspect of your case based on various considerations.
Dividing Marital Property During Divorce
Since Illinois is an equitable division state, the courts divide marital property equitably. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean splitting everything down the middle. The judge must first determine what qualifies as marital and non-marital property.
Marital property is all property, including obligations and debts, either spouse acquires while married, such as real estate, motor vehicles, and bank accounts.
Non-marital property is property either spouse acquires under these and other circumstances:
- As a gift, descent, or legacy, or other property exchanged for that property
- exchanged for other property acquired before the marriage
- either spouse acquired after a legal separation judgment
- excluded by a valid agreement both parties signed, such as a premarital agreement
- Judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to one spouse by the other
- other than some funds in retirement plans either spouse acquired before getting married
- one spouse acquired during the marriage by using the non-marital property as collateral for a loan
After confirming the type of property a divorcing couple has, the judge will distribute each asset according to various factors, such as:
- Each spouse’s anticipated financial situation after finalizing the divorce
- Whether either person needlessly spent or wasted marital property
- Each spouse’s needs
- The contributions of each party in acquiring property
- Duration of the marriage
- The value of the property assigned to each person
- Assignment of child custody if the couple shares children
- Rights and obligations either spouse has from a previous marriage
- Whether one party will receive spousal maintenance
- Tax consequences of property division
Awarding Custody of a Child
In Illinois, child custody laws distinguish between legal and physical custody. Legal custody allows the parent to make important decisions about aspects of the child’s life, such as education, religion, and medical care. Physical custody means the parent the child lives with primarily.
The court awards custody based on the child’s best interests. Factors that can affect the decision include:
- Each parent’s wishes
- The child’s relationship with their parents, siblings, and anyone else who significantly affects their best interest
- Whether physical violence or threats of physical violence by either parent against the child or another person occurred
- The child’s wishes
- Each parent’s ability and willingness to encourage and facilitate a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
- The physical and mental health of the child and both parents
- Whether either parent is a sex offender
- The child’s adjustment to their school, community, and home
Judges don’t automatically presume joint custody is in the child’s best interests. They might give each parent as much involvement in their child’s life as possible. However, they can award sole custody in situations involving domestic violence or other significant circumstances.
Even if the custodial parent has primary physical custody, the noncustodial parent is entitled to visitation. Spending adequate time with each parent is in the child’s best interests if it doesn’t risk their well-being, safety, or stability.
The courts only restrict visitation if it determines after a hearing that it would endanger the child’s moral, physical, emotional, or mental health. Restrictions to child visitation might include:
- Visits only in the custodial parent’s home
- Third-party supervised visits
- Prohibit overnight visits
- Visits occur outside of the noncustodial parent’s home
- Prohibit contact while the parent is under the influence of a mind-altering substance
Speak to an Experienced Champaign-Urbana Family Lawyer Today
Handling a family law case can be challenging. You don’t have to do it alone. Bruno Law Offices will review the issues you face and work to protect your rights and interests.
If you’re going through a divorce, pursuing custody of your child, or dealing with another family law matter, call us at (217) 328-6000 for a consultation. We will provide aggressive and dependable representation until the end.