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Dealing with divorce in Illinois

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Divorce is almost always an emotional process that divides everything from property to loyalty. Even amicable divorces can contain dangers to people's peace of mind and access to hard-earned property.

Although it is a complicated process, divorce -- or dissolution in the pages of Illinois law -- can be navigated by individuals to financial, emotional and mental safety a variety of ways. Legal representation for spouses as they prepare to file for divorce is one of the most common ways.

There is no waiting period for Illinois residents to file for divorce, although a primary requirement is that one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of the state for 90 days upon filing. Temporary orders may then be issued to cover maintenance (formerly alimony), child support and visitation until the divorce is final.

Irreconcilable differences are the only grounds for divorce recognized in the Land of Lincoln. This requires the judge's satisfaction that the marriage is irretrievably broken. One legal satisfaction of this concept is that spouses have lived separately for six months before filing for divorce.

Spouses have the option to agree on how marital property will be divided or allow a judge to determine this in a trial. Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage except specific gifts, inheritances and property covered by a pre-marital agreement.

The judge's goal in a trial is to determine an equitable -- not equal -- division for each spouse. This may involve reviewing income, tax liability, parenting time and other investments into the household and relationship.

Source: Illinois State Bar Association, "Your Guide to Getting a Divorce in Illinois," accessed Sep. 28, 2017

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