Uncontested and Contested Divorce Proceedings in Illinois

contested, DuPage County divorce attorneysHow quickly your divorce is finalized typically depends on whether your divorce is considered a contested or uncontested proceeding. Uncontested divorces are generally resolved faster, since the parties can come to an agreement and avoid the time and expense of litigation.

However, uncontested divorces are not appropriate for spouses who cannot agree on all of the most important aspects of a divorce, including spousal and child support, a parenting plan and custody agreement, and division of the assets and debts.

If you are seeking a divorce and wonder which method of divorce proceedings would be right for you, one of our experienced family law attorneys in the Wheaton area who handles divorce can discuss with you the pros and cons of both contested and uncontested divorce.

What is an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?

An uncontested divorce is possible when the spouses can amicably come to an agreement without needing to proceed to court. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses make the decisions about the terms of the divorce, rather than the judge deciding – though the judge will still need to sign off on the divorce agreement.

The major benefits of an uncontested divorce are that they are resolved more efficiently and cost-effectively. Even if you need to negotiate some of the terms of the so-called marital settlement agreement that you will file with the court, this will still take fewer hours to complete – and thus cost far less – than would a court proceeding before a judge.

Another benefit of an uncontested divorce is that the non-filing spouse may waive their right to be served divorce papers and notice of the proceedings. Both spouses will still be required to appear in court to finalize the divorce and answer any questions that the court may have regarding the terms of the negotiated agreement, however.

What is a Contested Divorce in Illinois?

While a divorce hearing before a judge may be more expensive and time-consuming, it is necessary when spouses cannot agree on all of the important factors affecting a divorce. Contested divorces can be more emotionally and financially stressful, but the rewards can be great for spouses who are able to ask for what they believe they deserve, in light of their particular circumstances.

For instance, many parents who are awarded primary custody of their children do so in contested divorce proceedings, whereas uncontested divorce proceedings in which the parents fully agree on child custody matters typically involve joint custody arrangements.

Many times, clients believe they want to pursue an uncontested divorce, only to realize later that they are unwilling to compromise on any one area of disagreement, and thus this calls for a contested divorce instead.

Consult an Experienced Divorce Attorney in DuPage County

Your experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer at our firm will be able to discuss with you your goals for the terms of your divorce and determine which type of proceeding will be most advantageous given your situation. Reach out to us today for help.



Protecting Fathers’ Rights in Illinois

fathers, DuPage County family law attorneysIn the past – and, unfortunately, at times still today – the courts have traditionally favored mothers when it comes to deciding which parent should be granted primary custody, or whether fathers can share equally in both parenting time and the right to make important decisions about their children’s lives.

Illinois has made strides in recent years towards recognizing that fathers play just as important a caretaking role as mothers do and deserve equal treatment when it comes to custody decisions. Our experienced parental responsibilities lawyers believe strongly that neither parent should – based solely on his or her gender – have a right to an automatic presumption of custody.

Rather, the court should consider the best interest of the child, the existing relationship between a child and each of his or her parents, the stability of a parent’s home environment, and the type of support each parent provides the child, including financial, physical, emotional, and educational support, among other factors.

Divorce and Child Custody in Illinois

When you file for divorce in Illinois and you have children, your custody case, including child support arrangements, will immediately become a part of your divorce proceedings. If you have already been divorced or currently have a custody agreement in place, you may seek to modify those arrangements at any time.

Unwed Parents and Establishing Paternity

Parents who were not married to each other at the time of separation typically need to take proactive steps to establish custody proceedings and child support arrangements, since there will be no divorce case to get the ball rolling on those matters.

Fathers who did not establish their paternity at the birth of their child will need to initiate paternity proceedings before a custody case can move forward. If you are a father who was never married to your child’s mother, your experienced parentage lawyer in Illinois can determine what the status of your paternity is and help you decide your next steps.

Child Support

Many fathers have questions about how parenting responsibilities can affect child support obligations, especially since the stereotype has always been that fathers pay mothers child support, and not the other way around. Our firm has experience challenging these traditions in court – particularly in cases in which the father shares parental responsibilities with equal parenting time, or where the father is the primary caretaker or custodian.

Our fathers’ rights attorneys also have experience fighting unfair child support orders or seeking modification of child support, due to changed circumstances or reduced income.

Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Illinois

A skilled DuPage County family law attorney at our firm is prepared to fight for your rights as a father and will seek to ensure that the court prioritizes your importance in your child’s life. Reach out to us today for help.



Relocation and Parenting Plans in Illinois

relocation, Wheaton family law attorneysOne parent’s relocation can significantly impact a parenting plan. If you have a parenting plan in place and you are considering relocation, or you learn that your child’s other parent is planning to relocate, you will need the help of an experienced family law attorney in Illinois.

Factors Considered by Court for Relocation

There are several factors the court will consider when deciding for or against relocation when a parenting plan is in place. The court will look at how the current arrangement will be affected and whether similar or comparably fair division of parenting time will be feasible if the relocation occurs.

Some other relevant factors for the court to consider include the reason for the relocation, how far away the new place of residence is from the child’s current residence, how severely visitation or parenting time with the other parent would be impacted, whether the new place of residence is located out of state, whether the child would have to change schools, and how the move would affect other parts of the child’s life including relationship with siblings, friends, extended family members, activities, and other attachments.

Will Relocation Enhance Quality of Life?

The court will also look at how the relocation will affect the child’s life in terms of an enhanced quality of life that may be possible if the primary residential parent will enjoy better job opportunities and be able to increase his or her economic standing due to the relocation. Also relevant is whether the relocating parent is marrying a person who lives or works out of state.

Parental Motivation for Seeking or Objecting to Relocation

Each parent’s motivations are also important to the court. If a parent appears to be relocating to deliberately deprive their child’s other parent of parenting time, or if one parent is objecting to relocation out of spite or simply to make the other parent’s life harder, the court does not look favorably on such motivations.

New Relocation Guidelines in 2016

In 2016, Illinois enacted new child relocation laws for when a parenting plan is in place. Prior to 2016, a parent with primary residential responsibilities could move anywhere within the state of Illinois without seeking approval from the court. However, this proved very problematic for many parents since the far corners of the state can be five hours from each other or more.

Under the new law, parents must seek the court’s permission and provide notice of a move to the child’s other parent if the move is more than 25 or 50 miles away, depending on the specific Illinois county. The limit is 25 miles for DuPage County and the other counties that comprise the Chicago metro area.

The new law also does away with the requirement that parents automatically seek court approval if they move out of state. Now, the 25-mile rule applies whether in-state or out-of-state. Parents who plan to move just across the state border but remain only a few minutes’ drive away do not need to seek court approval.

Consult an Experienced Family Attorney in DuPage County

If you are seeking to have your child’s relocation either approved or blocked, one of our experienced DuPage County family law lawyers at our firm can fight to show the court why relocation is or is not in your child’s best interest. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.