Top Divorce & Legal Separation Attorneys In Chicago
Serving Cook, Will, Du Page & Lake Counties
Every marriage begins with high hopes and good intentions, unfortunately many do end up coming apart. If this is your situation, you want an experienced family law and divorce attorney who can guide you through the process and shield you from the worst moments.
At The Walters Law Group, Ltd., we represent individuals in every kind of divorce process: contested, uncontested, simple, complex and collaborative. The divorce process you elect to pursue is important, but more important is how you choose to close this chapter of your life and how you elect to move forward.
The Goal of a Skilled Chicago Divorce Attorney
When we represent a client in a divorce, we become the agent for their needs, wishes and point of view. We are always aware that the divorce process is the foundation for your new life. The success of that new life is our number one goal.
What is Divorce? Divorce or dissolution is a proceeding that legally ends a marriage or domestic partnership.
What is Legal Separation? A legal separation does not end a marriage or domestic partnership. With a legal separation, the marriage or domestic partnership remains intact, and the parties may not remarry or enter a new domestic partnership. Legal separation is an option for couples who do not wish to divorce, but want to separate their finances and property. The grounds for legal separation are the same as those for divorce.
What is Annulment? In an annulment, the court determines that a marriage or domestic partnership is not valid legally. Marriages or domestic partnerships that are incestuous are never valid. Others can be declared “void” or “voidable” due to fraud, mental or physical incapacity, one of the spouses was to young to marry at the time of marriage, bigamy – one of the spouses was already married.
Can I get an annulment in Illinois? Yes – in certain circumstances.
In Illinois, a marriage can be annulled if:
- One of the parties lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage; mental disability, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, under duress, force used, or fraud
- One of the parties lacks the ability to perform sexual intercourse and was this was unknown to the other party at the time of marriage
- A minor less than 18 years old, and did not have the legal consent of a parent or guardian
Divorce usually involves more than just the dissolution of a marriage. As family law counselors we get involved in all these issues:
- Annulments / Invalidity of Marriage
- Asset Discovery
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Child Support Modifications
- Child Visitation
- Civil Orders of Protection
- Civil Union and Same-Sex Marriage
- Contested Divorce
- Contesting Prenuptial Agreements
- Custody Evaluations
- Custody Issues for Non-Married Parents
- Divorce and Business Valuations
- DNA Paternity Testing
- Domestic Partnership Agreements
- Domestic Violence
- Enforcement of Orders – Support, Maintenance, and Visitation Orders
- Estate Planning
- Fathers’ Rights
- Forensic Accounting & Business Evaluators
- Grandparents’ Rights
- Legal Separation
- Maintenance Modifications / Termination
- Mothers’ Rights
- Name Change(s)
- Orders Of Protection
- Parental Relocation or Removal
- Paternity / Parentage
- Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
- Pre-divorce Planning
- Property Division
- Relocation with a Child / Children
- Same-Sex Divorce
- Spousal Maintenance
- Stepparent Adoption
- Support & College Education
- Support & Day Care
- Uncontested Divorce
A Special Focus on High Net Worth Divorce
Divorce causes pain in every family, and having an above average income and significant assets is no buffer from this pain. Family law issues have no socioeconomic boundaries.
At The Walters Law Group, Ltd., we are prepared to vigorously represent our clients using tools such as forensic accountants, business valuators and property appraisers. Marriages with significant assets are certainly able to be resolved in an uncontested fashion, quickly and amicably, salvaging what you have taken a lifetime to build for yourself and your children. However, if your spouse is committed to hiding assets or to ensuring the destruction for all you have worked for, and sacrificed, aggressive litigation and our employment of skilled financial professionals on your behalf may be the key to preventing the financial destruction of your family, and your savings. You can learn more here.
Skilled at Working Illinois Divorce Law for You
As an equitable distribution state, Illinois doesn’t require a 50-50 division of marital property, but aims instead for a division that is appropriate under all of the circumstances of the case. At The Walters Law Group, Ltd., we pay close attention to the size and extent of the marital estate, seeking fair and just allocation for our clients.
Some Other Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Divorce Law
We can help you answer these questions and others!
- When can I file for a divorce in Illinois?
There is no pre-filing waiting period in Illinois. A petition for dissolution can be filed as long as one of the spouses resides in Illinois on the date of filing. However, you or your spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before the judgment of dissolution is entered. Therefore, you may live in Illinois less than 90 days before filing, but must meet the 90-day residency requirement by the time the judgment is entered.
However, if neither party lived in Illinois for 90 days prior to the filing, the petition may be subject to dismissal if another state already had jurisdiction or if Illinois does not have jurisdiction over both parties.
- How long does it take to get divorced?
Somewhere between a few weeks and a few years. It depends on the particulars of your case — if it is contested, if there is a custody dispute, if an extensive division of assets is required — plus other factors, such as which county you have filed for divorce in.
- Do I still have to pay child custody if I lose my job?
It depends. Did you “lose” your job through no fault of your own? If so, you can petition the court for either an abatement of support until you obtain new employment, or a reduction in support to meet your new income status. However, if you “quit” your job to avoid paying support, the Court will show you no mercy.
- Who pays for college for the kids after a divorce?
You both do. Illinois law says both parents must contribute to their children’s basic college education costs, based on their ability to pay.
- If I file for divorce, do I have to tell my spouse in person?
No. Your spouse finds out when papers are served. Papers can be served either from an independent service or by the sheriff of the county your spouse lives in. Your lawyer will help you with this.
- Can I banish my spouse from the house?
You may not, unless your physical and/or mental health is endangered. In any event, “self help” is cautioned against. The assistance of an attorney is strongly suggested.
- Why can’t child support just be figured as a percentage of my income?
Child support in Illinois is set as a dollar amount, with exceptions for income such as bonuses and commissions, or where income fluctuates or cannot be determined in a dollar amount.
- Does the husband ever win a custody fight?
Yes, and frequently. Custody is decided on the basis of the best interests of the child. Illinois law considers numerous factors when determining these best interests. Our attorneys at The Walters Law Group, Ltd., can quickly analyze your chances of success.
- Can I see other people while the divorce is pending?
Yes, but you need to be prudent. If you spend money to further that relationship, it may be considered a dissipation of marital assets. If you engage in physical relations in view of or within earshot of your children, it may be considered against their best interests. Do not spend shared money on the new person. Do not make him or her “a part of the family.” Easy solutions are to see the new person when the children are with your spouse, and to split your entertainment expenses while your divorce is in progress.
- Do I have to go to court?
- What if my spouse does not want a divorce?
- After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to reside in Illinois? The short answer is no.
- What forms do I need, and how should I prepare for a divorce?
- Where and how is a divorce complaint filed?
- How is the divorce complaint served on my spouse?
Every Situation Is Different — We Want to Hear Yours
Grounds For Illinois Divorce
One person can sue another for divorce in Illinois for one of these reasons:
- Extreme mental or physical cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness
- Serious drug abuse
- Conviction of a serious crime
- Attempted murder of the other spouse
- Infecting their spouse with an STD
We have over twenty years of combined experience in handling divorce, custody and family law cases. YOU give us your confidence, WE give you the peace of mind and the results you deserve.
We help people and families in Chicago and throughout the Chicagoland suburbs.
To meet with us, call The Walters Law Group, Ltd.’s attorneys at 312-806-6700 / 708-361-9700, or e-mail us using this online form.