Answering Your Questions About The Divorce Process

Divorce throws a lot of things into question. You are facing an uncertain future in which decisions made today have long-term impact on your family's tomorrow.

That's why P. Ann O'Connell Law, Ltd., puts your best interests at the forefront of our representation. We know what is at stake and how these proceedings will impact you and your children. Our goal is to help you come through the divorce process in the best possible position to move on from it.

Here are some answers to common questions people have about getting divorced in Illinois. For a more personalized consultation, contact our office in Evanston at 847-859-5453 to schedule a free initial consultation.

How long will the divorce take?

The answer to this question depends on how many assets and debts you need to divide, whether custody and child support are factors, and most importantly, whether you two can compromise. Those who can cooperate on the terms of divorce often need less time than those who cannot agree on anything.

Do I have to go to court?

Not necessarily. If you and your spouse are in agreement or at least committed to working cooperatively, most decisions can be negotiated outside the courtroom. Some families choose divorce mediation to settle their differences, which can work well for parents of young children.

Cases in which partners cannot agree, contest every issue or bring allegations of domestic abuse often require traditional litigation. Talk with attorney O'Connell about your specific concerns to determine whether courtroom advocacy may be necessary in your case.

How will our property be divided?

Illinois divorce laws require marital property to be divided in just proportions. Notice that does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The court will require full financial disclosure of all of your assets and property acquired during the marriage. Any attempt to hide assets or "gift" them to family members or friends to keep them out of the divorce proceeding will result in serious consequences.

What about spousal support (alimony)?

Spousal maintenance, as it is known in Illinois, may be available to help one spouse get back on their financial feet after a divorce. Maintenance is never guaranteed, however, and it's up to the spouse who needs it to ask for it — and prove their need for it.

Who will get custody?

This is a highly personalized question. Ideally, both parents will share parenting responsibilities and split their parenting time equitably. We know that not every family's circumstances allow for this type of arrangement, however. The court will look for parental allocation agreements (custody agreements) that protect your children's best interests. Lawyer O'Connell can help you navigate this often difficult aspect of divorce.

How is child support calculated?

Like most states, Illinois uses formulaic child support guidelines to calculate child support. The formula uses each parent's past and present net income, the number of children and the family's parenting plan as parameters for determining support.

Contrary to popular belief, both parents can expect to financially support their children, as child support is the child's right, not a custodial parent's. This reflects recent changes to family laws that focus more on the entire family unit, as opposed to what used to be the standard model of "child custody" and "visitation."