We are lawyers in Chicago who help you find the right attorney for your case for all areas of Illinois law, including Illinois divorce law.  Here are 40 things we think everyone should know about divorce.

1. You can’t use the same lawyer as your spouse.
2. Annulments are rare and typically a religious term.
3. File for divorce locally in the county you or your spouse lives in.
4. You have to live in Illinois for at least 90 days to file here.
5. The case will last as long as it takes you to agree on all issues.
6. It is possible to ask your spouse to be responsible to pay your attorney’s fees if there is a disparity in income.
7. While you can dispute the contents or grounds of a divorce and delay it., typically you cannot stop a divorce from happening.
8. For the most part, it doesn’t matter who did what to cause the divorce.
9. Children don’t get a say in custody, but as they get older they have more influence.
10. Most cases settle and don’t go to trial.
11. There is a difference between legal separation and divorce.
12. If you change your mind during the process, you can have your divorce case dismissed.
13. Divorce attorneys charge per hour unless it’s a truly uncontested divorce in which case some do flat fees.
14. “Fathers’ rights” is just a marketing term.
15. If you or your spouse started a successful business during the marriage, you will need a divorce attorney who understands forensic accounting.
16. Inherited money is not considered a marital asset.
17. Either party may ask for maintenance which some people call alimony. Typically the higher earning spouse will be ordered to pay a reasonable amount per month until the other spouse can become self-sufficient.
18. You may move the children out of state only if you have been granted legal permission from the court.
19. Child support amounts due are ordered by the court.
20. There is no law stating you can’t date new people during the divorce proceedings.
21. There is a difference between joint and sole custody and shared custody when children are involved in a case.
22. Temporary orders may be put in place to allow visitation and support to start as soon as the case is filed.
23. Child support is not taxable to either party. Maintenance is deductible to the person paying and taxable income to the person receiving.
24. You must have the other party personally served to start a case if there are children, property or alimony involved.
25. If your spouse simply doesn’t respond to the divorce petition, you may be awarded everything requested in the petition by default.
26. You may be ordered to go to mediation if you are unable to agree to certain terms of the divorce.
27. The cost of your divorce is based on the complexity of your case and how long it lasts.
28. The wife may have her name legally restored to her maiden name if she chooses.
29. Illinois child support law changed dramatically in July of 2017.
30. There is no waiting period prior to filing, the only contingency on filing in Illinois is one of you must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing.
31. Typically, even if there is a signed divorce settlement, at least one of you must go before a judge for the final court date.
32. There is no such thing as common law marriage in Illinois. So if you never received a marriage license you are not legally married, therefore you wouldn’t need a divorce.
33. All child related issues will be ruled on by a judge before the divorce is finalized.
34. All parents must attend a parenting education class before their child custody issues in a divorce are finalized.
35. The marital home or family home may be kept by one party depending on the needs of the children, how the other property will be divided and who has the ability to pay for the home. Typically it will be ordered within a certain time frame the mortgage be refinanced into the awarded parties name alone.
36. Any debt incurred during the marriage will be divided during the divorce. Any new debt since the date of filing will not be part of the divorce.
37. A legal civil union requires a legal divorce proceeding.
38. Non-marital property or debt cannot be attributed to the other party. IE: You cannot force your spouse to pay your student loan or tax debt obtained prior to the marriage. Your spouse also cannot lay claim to property you acquired prior to the marriage.
39. Your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your 401K, IRA or pension benefits and you may be entitled to theirs.
40. Health insurance may become an issue during and after a divorce if you both are on one employers plan. The non employee party may remain on the plan for up to 36 months under COBRA, for additional fees, or they may have to obtain separate health insurance once the divorce is final.

If you have any questions or need help finding an attorney please contact us at any time for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.