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bifurcation in Chicago divorce

What is Bifurcation in a Divorce Proceeding?

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Categorized as Illinois Divorce

Earlier this year, Kim Kardashian filed a motion to bifurcate her divorce. Kim and Kanye (now Ye), are not the only celebrities to seek a bifurcation in their divorce. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also famously got a bifurcated divorce in 2019. In these cases, both pairs knew that their divorce would be a drawn-out process and that divorcing before entering another negotiation would be the best thing for them.

However, this leads to the general public having many questions. Such as what is bifurcation? Why do people do it? Are there any benefits, and what are the problems with the bifurcation? Is a bifurcated divorce right for me? 

What is Bifurcation? 

Bifurcation separates the divorce itself from the property and parenting issues. Typically, in divorce cases, finances and parenting issues are issued simultaneously with the dissolution of the marriage. 

By effect, a bifurcation reserves all issues other than the dissolution to be handled later and allows the pair to be legally divorced immediately.

Common Questions About Bifurcation

Why would someone want a bifurcated divorce?

Someone might seek bifurcation for several reasons. First, they know that the process will take a long time due to their financials and want to be objective when negotiating, i.e., Brad and Angelina. Someone may want it for the emotional catharsis before handling the other issues. Someone may like it because the other spouse ran off several years ago, and they have no hope of finding them.

My spouse and I agree that bifurcating is going for us. What should I do?

The best thing would be to file an agreed order and ask the judge to enter it in your case. However, depending on your jurisdiction, you might still need a bifurcation motion. Please talk to an attorney if you consider this.

My spouse does not want to bifurcate. What do I do?

Bifurcated divorces can be agreed on or argued. An argued bifurcation needs “appropriate reasons” to be granted. For example, one reason could be that one of the spouses is absent. Another reason someone might seek bifurcation is that the couple is not in a financial situation where they could solve other issues in the divorce.

How likely am I to be given a bifurcated divorce?

Illinois courts are not likely to grant bifurcations. The Illinois Supreme Court stated a public policy objection to a bifurcated divorce. The Court encourages courts and parties to exercise restraint in seeking bifurcation. 

That being said, if the courts have sufficient evidence of appropriate reasons, the court will grant a bifurcation. However, that being said, appropriate reasons take a lot of work to prove.

What are the Appropriate Reasons to Request a Bifurcation?

​In Illinois, bifurcation is allowed under statute 750 ILCS 401(b). The appropriate circumstances for bifurcating a judgment, as referenced in the statute 750 ILCS 401(b), are narrowly drawn. If trial courts were allowed unfettered discretion to bifurcate a judgment of dissolution, the inequities and complications could potentially prejudice one party over the other. Therefore, the circumstance must be appropriate to allow a bifurcation. 

Appropriate reasons are not formally defined, but case law in Illinois does illuminate several examples of what is considered appropriate reasons. Courts, like In re Marriage of Blount, have found that the benefit to the emotional status of the elderly, very ill wife was an “appropriate circumstance” for entry of bifurcated judgment of divorce, reserving issues of maintenance and disposition of property. 

Some Examples include:

  • Jurisdictional Issues: If there are jurisdictional issues with one of the spouses. For instance, say a spouse ran off, and the other spouse cannot find them. In that case, the court can grant the spouse a bifurcated divorce, and the absent spouse can seek to handle the reserved issues if they ever return.
  • Spouse Failed to Respond to Divorce Petition: It could also be that the other spouse never responded to your Petition for Dissolution and never filed an appearance. If that happens, you can request a default judgment, which is functionally the same as a bifurcated divorce since all the issues are reserved, and the divorce is granted.
  • Spouse Unable to Pay for Child Support: Bifurcated divorce can also be given if one spouse is in a situation where they cannot pay for child support. For instance, the court might allow the couple to bifurcate if one spouse is incarcerated.
  • High-Conflict Spouses: In cases involving children and a divorce between high-conflict people, bifurcated divorces have been granted to ease the tension between spouses. Again, the goal was to prevent them from negatively impacting their children.
  • Complex Estate Planning Concerns: There can also be a bifurcated divorce when serious estate planning concerns arise. In one case, a man sought to have a bifurcated divorce because he was terminally ill. The pair had separated for several years. The man wanted to marry his long-time girlfriend and add her to his estate as his wife.

There may need to be more than those concerns to grant a bifurcation. Still, if there is enough evidence, a court may use discretion to grant a bifurcated divorce.

What are the Benefits of Bifurcation? 

The first benefit is that you and your spouse are no longer legally married. This means that either person can file for taxes as a single person, remove their ex-partner from any pension or death benefits, and remarry. 

Also, suppose the divorcing pair has no joint property, no child, and agrees to a bifurcated divorce. In that case, it might be quicker and cheaper for them to bifurcate than to go through the process. 

Conversely, suppose the pair are incredibly wealthy and have a massive amount of marital property. In that case, the couple might benefit from finalizing the issue of divorce early.

Many also find that it is emotionally cathartic to no longer be married. Because of that, it allows the couple to look at the remaining issues objectively.

What are the Problems with Seeking a Bifurcated Divorce?

Illinois courts are hesitant to grant bifurcation. However, if the bifurcation is agreed on, it is more likely to be given. If not, then it is challenging to prove appropriate circumstances.

Also, in most cases, bifurcation expands the litigation time. This is because bifurcation separates into several issues and will necessitate multiple hearings, trials, and judgments. At the same time, a non-bifurcated divorce only has one judgment to handle all the financial and parenting issues that come from divorce. 

Even in situations like default judgments or absent spouses, it opens someone up to future litigation in the future, if the other spouse decides to contest the bifurcation or default judgment. 

Speak to a Chicago Divorce Lawyer About Bifurcation

Before considering a bifurcation of a divorce, research if the positives outweigh the negatives. Additionally, think about the mental anguish and emotional disadvantages that will continue as a result of the divorce not really being finished.  Before considering a bifurcation in an Illinois divorce, be sure to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to discuss your options. At Anderson Boback & Marshall, schedule a consultation with one of our Chicago divorce attorneys, who can answer your questions about bifurcation and any other family law concerns.

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Boback/Anderson’s attorney Janice Boback was recommended And I do recommend her as one attorney who will adhere and work hard to serve the principles You believe in what ever the character of the opposing att. I strongly believe that family going through difficult... times should be served in a method respecting both sides with the least exposure possible to unnecessary painful processes.Att. Janice Boback esq. is the one you want ,who will persist on working in the utmost ethical manner to reach SETTLEMENTS and avoiding the un-needed processes that aim to serve interest of others than your family’s . She will explain to you your options what is legally possible and alternatives.When it comes to family issues, you will never regret choosing att Janice. She was and still is the best ethical and professional help during hard family times.read more
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Jan Boback was a great lawyer. She responded in a timely manner and answered all of my questions ( and there were a lot ). She's incredibly professional and takes her job seriously. I would definitely recommend her if you are in need of such services during a difficult... time.read more
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Anderson and Boback have a professional, dedicated team who will fight for you and do everything in their power to help. They are kind, professional and kept be updated on my case. I VERY highly recommend their office. I worked with Genevieve Binnie on my latest case... and she went above and beyond!read more
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My lawyer was awesome!!! The situation was handle with such care. They were always readily available which was great to handle daily details and constant issues that arose. I will refer them to everyone I know for the rest of my life. That is how much I appreciated... them!!! Thanks, Lisread more
Lisa A.
Very professional law firm. I had to use them for many years for a child case. I can say I'm very pleased with the outcome and would highly recommend this law firm. They were always on top of anything that needed to be done. They did a better job than the opposing... council with arguments and making sure the judge had all the necessary paperwork to help us win our case. Thanks!read more
Josh N
I have used other law firms in the past, and I can honestly say that none of them compares to the work of Alexandra. I now understand how crucial it is to have the right counsel by your side.She is by far the best counsel I’ve ever had. She was on top of my case since... day one, pays close attention to details, and answered all my questions in a timely manner. Alexandra is deeply knowledgeable and with her experience, she has made my case get positive results.I will forever be grateful to Alexandra C. Brinkmeier. Alexandra Thank You!!!read more
Antonio R.
prior to finding and retaining Anderson & Boback, i had two previous lawyers. both of my prior attornies let the process drag on, and would not challenge opposing counsel. several issues surfaced during this time and my prior attornies were unwilling or unable to... address them.After an initial meeting with Kim Anderson, I did not hesitate to hire her as my now 3rd lawyer. Kim and Genevieve Binnie quickly familiarized themselves with the case. Kim and Genevieve are knowledgable, professional, and very confident. Kim and Genevieve gave me the impression that i was their only client. I was never told that they were too busy or had other important meetings to address my concerns, as my previous lawyers often did. just recently my case went to trial. although the judge has not made a ruling yet, i am confident in a favorable outcome for the case that Kim and Genevieve put on. i cannot thank them enough for their hard work. Both Kim and Genevieve are skilled, and excellent attornies. I highly recommend Anderson & Boback!read more
james B.
Highly recommend they helped me get a long over due child support modification. Props to Attorney Sindel for all her hard work and putting up with me.
Jason B.
Anderson & Boback was our 3rd Lawfirm for a family court issue. The others were mean, rude, disrespectful, & unresponsive. A & B was very courteous, respectful, & knowledgeable! They were great! They maintained their professionalism in very dicey situations.I’ll use... them again if needed!read more
Lorenzo L.
I will recommend Jessica Marshall as an excellent attorney for child custody and family law cases. From the moment she took on my case, she was determined to help me achieve my desired outcome (of course in the best interest of my son).Jessica worked diligently on my... case and showed compassion through out the year long custody battle. She has the knowledge, wit and compassion that it takes to represent and fight for a fathers rights.If you ever need or know someone in need of a family law attorney, Jessica is the one for you.read more
Solomon M.
i was involved in a very complicated custody battle. My attorney was Kim Anderson. She stepped up & took my case when 5 other law firms would not. Kim showed professionalisms, integrity & most importantly for me, heart. She diligently fought for almost 4 years to... make sure I had a positive outcome. Kim is not afraid to take on a challenge & give it all she’s got for her clients. I don’t know where my family would be today if not for Kim Anderson.read more
Peggy K.
For years, I have been bombarded with bad-faith petitions by my daughter's biological father; Though we've lived in Florida since my daughter was 17 months old (she'll be 12 in a week), the jurisdiction has remained, sadly, in Illinois. Her father has an unlimited... amount of money to waste, and as a single mother of two, and a Florida educator, I do not; I have struggled to fly back and forth to Chicago from Florida, fighting Pro-Se because I've not been able to afford an attorney. I've had to incur costs to fly to Chicago, lose work time, lose time with my family, and simply continue to be harassed with no end in sight. Recently, after being bombarded again- now with 'emergency petitions' with no merit to them, but simply designed to ensure I am not able to fly within 24 hours from Florida to Chicago to defend myself, my family members said, "ENOUGH!". I was referred to Janice Boback from a dear family friend, and another family member loaned me the retainer fee, which is very reasonable. Janice, with only 36 hours to prepare for a hearing, was a ROCK STAR! It was the first time I felt that the 'little guy' won a victory! She was laser sharp, calm, and unrelenting - Everything was dismissed against me! My daughter's best interest was supported, and the Judge, because it was a hearing, was finally made aware of the facts. After almost two hours, the judge stated he finds me, "Completely credible, honest, and in no way attempting to interfere with [my] daughter's relationship with her biological father"... He went on to tell her father, "She is not responsible for 'spoon-feeding' you information about your daughter."... POETIC JUSTICE! Janice is my HERO - A Peaceful Warrior who is steady in a sea of chaos, ready to lift onto her shoulders those whose voice has been drowned out! Thank you!read more
Rosanne H.
Wonderful law firm! Jessica Marshall is a terrific attorney. Not only is she an expert in family law, she listens, she cares, and she gets to the bottom of the issues to protect the best interests of children involved and the client. She's aggressive and practical and... the one you want on your side. Everyone that I have worked with at this firm has been helpful, skilled, and extremely professional.read more
LV
I have worked with Jan for several years after finding her through Google Reviews. She has been a tremendous asset to my case. She is always responsive and willing to help. She is extremely knowledgeable of the law and is always realistic about expectations.... Ultimately, I got the BEST possible outcome for my case due to Jan’s diligence. I am so glad she is on my side!read more
Krystal H.
Ms. Boback is an excellent legal resource. She collaborated with me on possible solutions for a mutual client concerning a complicated matter that implicated the laws of multiple states. She was knowledgeable, helpful, and practical. She certainly earned my highest... endorsement.read more
James L.
While looking to switch to a female attorney for a very contentious separation involving a child with an exe, I came across the law firm of Anderson & Boback. They were very prompt with the call-back response to my inquiry and connected me with Janice right away.... Janice took a substantial amount of time to speak with me, to better understand the complexities in my case, and she offered great insight.I found this firm to very compassionate and understanding in how to navigate the legal system in this matter and also in their understanding of the sort of individual I unfortunately have to deal with and the associated legal games separating parents may face.I would have absolutely sought Anderson & Boback’s council but there was a conflict and with my case already advanced, I chose another female attorney. Based on my initial experience, I would definitely recommend this firm!read more
Lucy M.
You get what you pay for... !After firing our first attorney because quite frankly he was in over his head with our case we hired Jessica Marshall from Anderson and Boback.Jessica was responsive, attentive, has a hyper attention to detail and of course, knows the... laws relating to the litigation of custody, child support, and parenting time inside and out. At no point did we feel Jessica was not ontop of our case and ready to see our case all the way through to a trial. She managed expectations. Under promised, over delivered!No trail, an agreement in place with the parenting time we wanted and a manageable child support order was the end result of a bitter child support and parenting time case.Hopefully we will not have to utilize Jessica’s services again but in the event that we need to, we have full confidence in her abilities. She did an outstanding job for us. Cannot say enough about how pleased we are as a result of Jessica’s services. Highly recommend!read more
Devere J.
I could not be more impressed or appreciative for this firm's work. Kimberly Anderson is professional, benefits from an exceptional reputation in the legal community, and understands how to make a difficult process easier. Her availability to answer questions and... strategize goes far beyond what I've experienced with other lawyers. I highly recommend her firm.read more
John D.
Kim Anderson is a fantastic attorney. I was very stressed and scared over possible outcome of my case. Kim successfully defended me and helped me move forward with my life. I can't honestly thank her enough.
Jason G.
I was in an existing parentage case that had been drawn out for about a year and a half with little being done, before I decided to switch firms to Anderson & Boback. Kim Anderson reached out to me immediately upon my inquiry and it was very clear to me that she was... interested in what I had to say, and genuine in her responses to my questions. In taking on my case, she showed strong support for the outcome I wanted, gave very reasonable advice to help me get there, and brought experience to the table to guide me in my own decision making. She kept things moving, and so within only a few months of bringing her on, we were able to wrap up the case with a great outcome. Couldn't be more pleased. Thank you so much Kim!read more
Suzanne P.
Absolutely wonderful, are just some of the adjectives I can use to describe the wonderful women at Anderson and Boback. Kimberly Anderson is a tough hard-nosed lawyer who knows what she's doing and the direction she wants to go when it comes to fighting for her client.... Since the day I contacted this firm because of the deteriorating circumstances involving my ex-wife, she listened to me and gave sound advice. When it came time to fight in the courtroom, she was more than ready and communicative throughout the entire process with the first emergency order, which we won. This happened on two more occasions before our day in court and she still fought hard winning each time. The communication was excellent as she explained the possible outcomes and worst case scenarios before each case. I couldn't have come into contact with a better lawyer. Kim is outstanding and she stays abreast of current changes occurring within our legal system. In instances when Kim personally couldn't be there, Jessica Marshall stepped in her place and did a wonderful job. Our last victory was culminated with Kim still giving her all to fight for me, when she was dealing with her own health issue; that honestly meant a lot to me because she was not only displaying her passion to fight for her client but her dedication to obtaining best possible solution for a father who was being denied his parental rights. All I can say is, if you're contemplating on hiring these wonderful women at Anderson and Boback, DO IT! You will not regret your decision because they will fight for you and they are just wonderful from the paralegals, to the lawyers, and partners they're TOP NOTCH! Not only in the state of Illinois but I'd put them against any lawyer nationally.read more
Bruce J.
I just want to say that Kimberly Anderson is an amazing lawyer!! She is smart and easy to talk too. She is willing to listen to you and what you want. She helped me in more ways than she knows. She always answers your calls or emails and if you don’t understand... something she is more than willing to explain it . She also won’t sugar coat things and has your best interest in mind. I will recommend her to anyone that needs a divorce lawyer. Also the people who work with her are friendly and always willing to help in any way they can.read more
Kate G.
My sister had used thier services and I can actually say THEY ARE F***KING GOOD .. I seen them in action they WON. I can actually say I want them on my side..
Maria H.
Jan Boback represented me in a domestic order of protection case. Her expertise and performance in court was nothing but stellar! She knew every aspect of the law related to this issue and very clearly communicated the conforming facts of the case to the judge. The... judge, even though they have full discretion, could not argue with Jan's facts, how they conformed and her very calm presentation. She read the judge's body language which has a big factor in court when you are dealing with a judge you've never been before in the past.Jan is nothing but outstanding at her job.I've referred her to others and will continue to do so.Deanread more
Dean K.
I was very grateful to do business with Janice Boback.I am a strong believer in God, Justice, and “Janice”.She expressed extreme knowledge in the law pertaining to my case. Her winner attitude and great communication skills always kept my mind at peace.The trust... connection and bond between Janice and I was priceless.I always felt protected under her guidance with complete awareness of the status and all possible outcomes to my case.She was always available to answer or explain any questions or concerns I had.She is truly the attorney to have if the situation arises.read more
Larisa H.
Kim Anderson has a knack for staying 1-step ahead of me and my thought process. This is extremely helpful in those moments when I am stressed on legalities and not quite thinking straight. Kim also capably breaks the legal speak into everyday terms that I can... understand. Kim is an excellent attorney who is prompt, diligent and professional. The team at Anderson & Boback was invaluable in guiding me through my divorce as well as resettlement issues that I initiated after the divorce. Thanks for all your help Kim!read more
Michael C.
Jessica Marshall was amazing! My divorce should have been an easy process, since we didn't have any children or assets; however the opposing party was adamant on making it complicated. Jessica not only kept me informed of everything that was happening but advised me on... the best course of action to get divorced within a reasonable time-frame and without it costing me everything I owned. I couldn't thank her enough once it was all over. I can now move on with my life and it's because of her.read more
Jenny R.
Jessica is Amazing! She is kind, thoughtful, detailed oriented. She is quick in responding. She is knowledgeable. She fought for me in court and not afraid to speak up for her client. She has this confidence in return I feel confidence. She gives me good advices and... helping me to make right decisions. I am so very grateful she is my attorney.read more
Daranee A.
Jessica Marshall sat with me and supported me from the moment of our first consult to the final court appearance. No question went unanswered, no call/email left unreturned, and no doubt that she was on my side and ready to work. Jessica handled my case with confidence... and empathy, which I greatly appreciate given court can, often times, feel overwhelming. Cost was worth every penny and I know that every dollar was earned. I am grateful that the outcome was in my daughter’s favor and that she is now safe. My daughter will be forever thankful for finally having her voice heard in court, as Jessica suggested, through a child rep. I also want to acknowledge Gianna Carabez, Jessica’s paralegal, for always being kind and available to take my calls.read more
Sara G.
I have worked with lawyers in the past, Jan I feel really took care of me! She always had time for me, was very good at getting back to me when she was busy. In court I could see she handled her self confidently and was respected by other lawyers and also the judge. I... have recommended her to friends and family and will continue to do so!read more
Jim B.
This practice will go above and beyond! During a difficult time they were understanding and helpful.Very responsive! I received a fair and favorable outcome. I recommend contacting them immediately to get the ball rolling.
Antiwon S.
After visiting with two other law firms, I selected Anderson & Boback. They are professional! The former office was bright and pleasant. The receptionists are professional. The attorney I was assigned listened to my story and then prepared a course of action. I am... glad I chose Anderson & Boback to handle my divorce case. I highly recommend them!read more
Richard P.
Kim came as a referral from a great friend of mine. This wasn't an easy process to go through, but Kim gave me great guidance and help along the way. Wouldn't have gotten the outcome I wanted without her and her team.
Meghan M.
In April of 2016, I had an urgent need for a family attorney to help me litigate some critical issues unresolved from my divorce decree ordered by the cook county family court in 2011. I interviewed 3 attorneys and ended up picking the last one I felt was the best out... of the three. What a mistake I made after two months of litigation and more than $10,000 legal fees. In July, I interviewed two more attorneys and I selected attorney Anderson to replace the previous attorney. What a switch I made! All the critical issues were litigated and resolved to my complete satisfaction. Attorney Andersen has a very simple way of serving her client: she will listen to my story and ask what legal outcome I am expecting to get, and she will recommend a course of action and get me the result in the most cost effective manner. In short, when you give your problems to attorney Anderson for solutions, you can go home and sleep well.read more
Dean C
Kim handled both of our adoptions for us and made the process so easy. When you’re overwhelmed with all of the legal details it’s so nice knowing you’ve got someone who will attend to them so you can focus on other things. Very professional and highly recommended!
Cd J.
Kim is very professional and cared about your case. Always there when you need her. Thanks for all your hard work.
Kim S.
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Elizabeth Bailey
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I really appreciated Laura’s help on my case. She was professional, empathetic, knowledgeable, and very quick to respond. She made an unfortunate situation much more tolerable with her ability to move my case along quickly and easily. Highly recommend.
Audrey Tabon
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I’ve been working with Anderson and Boback since 2019 due to the unfortunate complexities of my case. It’s been exhausting and expensive but having this group of powerful attorneys has been pivotal in the success of my case.
Timothy Host
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Attorney Jessica's exceptional assistance and success in securing a proper visitation agreement and reuniting me with my daughter surpassed my expectations. Her prompt correspondence and attention to detail were remarkable, ensuring efficient communication and leaving no aspect of my case overlooked.
Paul Cavill
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Laura was my assigned Attorney and she was very professional and did an excellent job. Great advice and did everything as quickly and easily as possible. I couldn't of gone through the unfortunate process I had to and got the outcome I did without her. Highly recommend.
Dan Strickland
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Words cannot express the gratitude I have for Jessica Marshall and her team. As a father who was no longer present in the USA, I was facing a monumental task to get access to my daughter in the face of extreme hostility. She made the impossible happen, and I’ll forever be in her debt.
Kelly Olsen
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We never go into a marriage thinking I have a great divorce attorney if this doesn’t work out. However, Laura Darby is the attorney you want in your back pocket if you do have to go through a divorce! Laura is extremely knowledgeable, caring, and will advocate for her clients. She will provide realistic, clear, and yet supportive guidance to her clients.
Karen Mae
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If you’re looking for a smart, reliable divorce attorney, look no further. I was able to collect many years of back support with the assistance of this office. Jessica Marshall really knows what she is doing and I felt that my outcome was fair. You really do get what you pay for.
Rob Backeberg
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My experience with Anderson & Boback was nothing short of professional, efficient and caring. My lawyer, Jessica Marshall, provided a strong sense of guidance, reassurance and a human touch during a very difficult and complicated legal process. Highly recommend Jessica and her team.
Raza K.
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Jessica is a dedicated, intelligent and a skillful attorney. Her arguments are skillfully articulated. She helped me in getting my divorce finalized in 2018. She then helped in getting the past due child support from my X-spouse and then recently in getting the maintenance alimony payments settled. I would highly recommend their services.
Joanna Kieplin
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Jessica C. Marshall , partner at Anderson & Bobak is one of the best attorneys I had a pleasure to work with! I wish I had found her sooner in my divorce process. I had a post decree military pension issue and it was resolved quickly, efficiently and effectively. I didn’t even have to go to court or interact with my ex- spouse. The billing was also very straightforward and honest. Highly recommended attorney!
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    20 N. Clark Street, Suite 3300 Chicago, IL 60602

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    5 Revere Drive, Suite 200 Northbrook, IL 60062

    Firm Overview
    Anderson Boback & Marshall

    Anderson Boback & Marshall is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation for divorce and other family law issues. With multiple offices in NorthBrook and Chicago Downtown, we make it easy for you to book an appointment in a location near you. Our family and divorce lawyers serve families in Cook County, Lake County, Will County, and DuPage County. Call Now 312-715-0870