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Illinois divorce questions
Divorce FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Chicago and Illinois

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked Illinois divorce questions, from the top-rated Chicago divorce and family law firm of Anderson Boback & Marshall. We understand that this is an emotional and confusing time for you, which is why we provide answers to all your legal questions about divorce to help you make the right decisions that allow you to move forward.

Some of the Illinois Divorce Questions we hear every day include:

The first step is to file a petition for divorce. In the State of Illinois, there is no waiting period to file. The divorce may be granted provided that one of the spouses has been a legal resident in the state for at least 90 days prior to the judgment.  There is a fee to file the petition for divorce, although it may be waived in some cases if the petitioner cannot afford it.

Typically, the filing fee is around $350, but this cost can vary by county. It does not matter who files first, as the Court is charged with dividing your estate equitably.  Your spouse won’t get more time with the kids because they filed first. There is no legal advantage. There is a fee to file an appearance, which is what your spouse will be required to file.  Essentially, both of you will be paying some sort of filing fee to get your case started. Your divorce attorney can help to determine what the fee is in your county and if you qualify for a reduced fee.

The entire divorce process can take as little as two weeks if you have a full agreement, and can also last up to several years, depending upon how complicated the issues are or the level of conflict between you and your spouse. If you have unresolved issues in which reaching an agreement is very difficult, it takes more time. The timeline for your divorce will depend upon several factors, and the more disagreements there are, the longer and more expensive your case becomes.

As divorce attorneys, we understand how stressful this time can be and we do all we can to alleviate that stress. When we work with clients, we strive to help you reach a quick resolution through negotiation, mediation and when recommended, the collaborative divorce processes. Our goal is to utilize the resolution process that is most cost-effective, without settling for less than what you deserve. Your divorce will take longer if issues must be resolved in the courtroom through litigation.

Finding the right divorce attorney in Chicago for your specific situation requires research and understanding your needs. Here are tips our divorce lawyers recommend:

⚖️ Look for an attorney who specializes in family law and has extensive divorce experience in Cook County courts. A dedicated focus helps navigate the complexities.

🏅 Check credentials like certifications, associations, and client reviews. Strong credentials indicate respect among legal peers.

💬 Consider compatibility. Since this is an emotional process, it’s important to work with an attorney who you feel comfortable confiding in.

🤝 Understand their approach. Some attorneys are aggressive litigators, while others aim to mediate agreements. Choose one aligned with your goals.

🤝 Discuss logistics like availability, communication style, fees so there are no surprises. Divorce takes consistency and close coordination.

💡 Trust your instincts. The initial consultation should give you confidence they have the skills and temperament to represent you effectively.

The right divorce attorney can make a challenging time easier. Take time to research options thoroughly. We’re always available for consultations.

Going through a divorce is stressful enough, without worrying about supporting yourself financially. After the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, the court will make temporary orders to address immediate issues like financial support for you and your children.  A Motion for Temporary Relief should be filed to addresses the immediate need for spousal support and child support, which will also lay out the framework for parenting time or visitation.

These orders are temporary and will most likely change at the time of the final court hearing when your divorce becomes final. It’s important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that your temporary orders are filed timely and ensure you receive the proper amount for your support.

In Illinois, there is no causal connection between a spouse’s infidelity in marriage and the amount of parenting time or custody of the children. When it comes to custody and parenting time, the court is concerned about the quality of the parental relationship with the child.  Illinois is a no ground divorce state, so even if your spouse is unfaithful, it is no longer a consideration in Illinois courts.

Divorce will change many facets of your life and whether you or your spouse filed the petition, there are many things that you can do to facilitate an amicable separation. Knowing what to expect will help you to make the right decisions and allow you to move forward.  A plan cannot hurt and the more information you have about the process, the better off you will be. Download this free guide How to Plan for Your Divorce, and contact Anderson and of Boback for answers to all your legal questions about divorce.

A collaborative divorce as an alternative approach to resolution, with the goal of helping couples settle their disputes cooperatively.  In a collaborative divorce, both parties are represented by their attorney and agree to resolve their differences without litigation in court.  Attorneys will engage other professionals to sort out the couple’s problems if needed. A tax accountant might be needed, or a real estate agent. The goal of a collaborative divorce is to avoid court, so if all issues cannot be resolved, all attorneys are required to withdraw from the case and new attorneys must be hired to take the case to court.

A collaborative divorce can save people time and money, but the process requires both parties to be willing to engage in some give and take to make the process work.

Anderson Boback & Marshall are experienced collaborative divorce lawyers, weighing the pros and cons of each proposed solution always looking out for your best interests.

When a couple with children divorces, neither party is allowed to move the child out of the state without the express consent of the other parent or approval by the court. In fact, the rules for how far away you are allowed to move depend upon which Illinois county you reside. Statute 750 ILCS 5/609.2 outlines the law relating to a parent’s relocation, which requires at least a 60-day written notice given to the other parent under the allocation judgment or parenting plan. A copy of the notice must be filed with the clerk of the circuit court. The notice must include the intended relocation date, the new address if known, and the length of time for the relocation, if not a permanent move.

If the non-relocating parent signs the notice with approval, the court is likely to grant the request to relocate. If the non-relocating parent objects to the relocation, the parent seeking to relocate must file a petition with the court seeking approval for the move.

In the state of Illinois, moving with your child was pretty straight forward. You could not leave the state of Illinois without the other parent’s consent or court approval. However, the law changed in January 2016. In this video, attorney Janice Boback discusses Illinois child relocation laws, how far you can move and the ins and out of relocating with your child in a divorce.

Be sure to speak with an experienced child relocation lawyer to help interpret the statute and explain your options and assist you with the process of whether you are planning to move or contesting a move.

With so many issues that affect your family and your future such as division of property, assets and debts, alimony and maintenance, child custody, parenting time and child support, it’s very beneficial to contact an experienced divorce attorney for input and guidance.  A knowledgeable, skilled divorce attorney should be able to provide answers to all your Illinois divorce questions and help you avoid mistakes that can affect your future. Choosing the right divorce attorney for you is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your divorce. Before you select an attorney, be sure that their practice focuses strictly on divorce and family law, that they are experienced with issues similar to yours, and have a strong reputation in the legal community. Download this checklist to help you identify the right attorney for you and prepare for your meeting with the attorney.  Contact Anderson Boback & Marshall for answers to all your legal questions about divorce.

Most family law attorneys require payment of a retainer when you retain their services.  A retainer is a lump sum of money that you pay to the firm so that they can collect payment of fees due to the firm for work they complete for your case, as those fees become due.  Sometimes you will be required to replenish your retainer when it is depleted.  Other firms may request that you leave a credit card on file for billing after the retainer is depleted.  In any event, most divorces are not done for a sum certain, or a “flat fee”, and a lot of clients do not understand why. First, attorneys are billed for their time in general.  In family law cases they usually have an hourly rate which is generally pro-rated in various increments.  The reason why a retainer is required is because every case is unique.  When you hire an attorney, they have no idea whether or not your spouse is truly “in agreement” with what you and your spouse discussed for your “uncontested” divorce matter.  (Although we are happy to draft an agreement if there truly is one.)  We also have no way of knowing whether or not your case will settle, go to hearing on a particular issue, or go to trial.  These cases, depending upon how they proceed, require a different amount of time from your attorney.  It is hardly fair for the attorney to be paid the same amount for a case that takes 4 hours to complete as a case that takes 100 hours to complete.  No attorney would want to work for the same amount of money for 4 hours or 100 hours.  In fact, I don’t think any employee would want to work for the same amount of money for 4 hours versus 100 hours.  If you work at McDonald’s and they told you that they are going to pay you $100 whether you work 4 hours or 100 hours, let’s be honest—you’d probably quit.  The same logic follows here.  We do not possess a crystal ball that will tell us how much time we will spend on your case, and because of this, we have to take a retainer. The good news about a retainer is that if the entire retainer is not depleted due to working on your case, any sums that remain are typically returned to you.  So, you have nothing to lose by paying the retainer.  Any sums that are not used for services do get returned to you.

“We are married 17 years, my husband’s anger has always been a problem. We have 2 children that are petrified of their father. They fear he will hurt me. He rejects seeking professional help for us. As the years have gone by, his behavior in anger has become intolerable and scary. He threatens us, harasses, stalks, and will not leave the house. He makes good money, owns properties, and will not give us any money for expenses. Not sure what I can do.”

Yes, you can obtain an order of protection. You don’t say how old your children are, but you can get the order to protect them as well. When you go to court and get your order of protection, you’ll need to be clear as to the fear you mention. You write, “They fear he will hurt me,” but you don’t say that you are afraid. In order to obtain an order of protection for yourself, this is something you absolutely need to tell the judge. Telling the judge that your children are afraid that he will hurt you, without saying you are afraid, could hurt your case. Also, people always think that they have to detail all the abuse in that little box provided to you in the form. In the box that asks you to describe the abuse, just write, “see attached.” Then attach a detailed list of what occurred, including the date, what he said or did, and how it made you feel. This detailed list of what happened can be the difference between getting an order of protection or having it denied 21 days later.

Anderson Boback & Marshall Divorce Attorney Chicago (OLD)

Anderson & Boback are highly respected divorce attorneys in Chicago, with experience in all types of divorce. We have a passion for helping you through this life-changing event with compassion, understanding and the settlement that you deserve. We are an award-winning long-term with a focus on family law. Contact us today for answers to all your Illinois divorce questions.

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    Chicago Downtown Office

    20 N. Clark Street, Suite 3300 Chicago, IL 60602

    Northbrook, IL Office

    5 Revere Drive, Suite 200 Northbrook, IL 60062

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    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