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Wheaton filing for divorce attorneyThe divorce process is likely to be rife with challenging decisions and difficult considerations for you and your spouse to manage. The two of you will need to deal with both your current situations, as well as your expectations and plans for the future, especially if you have children together. Among the myriad concerns that most couples face is the decision regarding who should be the one to file the formal divorce petition and when the petition should be filed. Is there an advantage to filing before your spouse does, or does it really matter who files first? The answer, as with most divorce-related questions, is that it depends on your unique circumstances.

Are There Legal Advantages to Filing First?

For the majority of divorcing couples in Illinois, filing first does not offer any special advantage from a legal perspective. The titles that will be used in your proceedings will be different depending on who filed first. The filer is referred to as the “petitioner” or “plaintiff,” and the other spouse is known as the “respondent” or “defendant,” but both parties have equal rights and responsibilities during the proceedings. You will have opportunities to bring up issues and express your objections whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.

The ability to allege and prove a claim against your spouse is also not contingent on which party filed for divorce first. For example, you can raise a claim of dissipating assets, or be required to defend against one, regardless of who filed the initial petition for divorce.

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Wheaton IL collaborative divorce lawyerStudy after study over the past several decades has documented the effects that hostile divorces have not only on the couple who is breaking up, but also the children of those marriages. A contentious divorce can have an impact on both emotional and physical long-term health for all involved. With almost half of all first-time marriages ending in divorce, and even more second and subsequent marriages not working out, it is hard to avoid being affected by divorce one way or another, whether it is your own or that of your parents or your adult children.

However, not all divorces have to be quite so difficult. More and more law firms are offering clients the option of collaborative divorce, and many of those clients are choosing that option as the more peaceful way to end their marriages.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Unlike traditional, litigated divorce, where parental responsibilitiesdivision of assets and debts, and other marital issues are determined by a judge following a trial, collaborative divorce does not involve litigation. Instead, couples agree to work through these issues and come to an agreement on how they should be resolved. This is done with the help of attorneys representing each of the spouses. Many collaborative divorce teams also include a financial advisor, as well as mental health professionals and other experts whose input may be useful in the divorce process.

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DuPage County invalid marriage attorneyIf you got married fairly recently and you and your spouse are starting to experience some serious problems, you might be thinking that your marriage was a mistake. Maybe you and your spouse did not quite know each other as well as you thought, or maybe the things about your spouse that you once found endearing are no longer as appealing now that you are married. Many couples who find themselves in such a situation may consider filing for divorce, but some give thought to the idea of seeking an annulment. After all, they were not married very long, so an annulment can just undo the marriage, right?

Under Illinois law, an annulment does not simply “undo” a marriage. In fact, what used to be called an “annulment” is now known as a declaration of invalidity of marriage, and it is only available under very specific circumstances. Simply being unhappy with your spouse is not among them.

Understanding Annulments in Illinois

Part III of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) addresses the action of declaring a marriage invalid. Illinois law no longer refers to this action as an annulment. There are stringent grounds on which a marriage can be declared invalid. These grounds include:

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Wheaton IL child custody lawyerIf you have recently gone through a breakup or divorce, it is natural that you would want to move on to a new relationship. However, when you and your ex have children together and a child custody case pending, the other parent and the court may have a right to know more about the people you are spending time with, especially if that time is spent around your child.

How a Court Makes Custody Decisions

When a judge in Illinois is making a decision about parental responsibilities and parenting time, the judge must consider what is in the best interest of a child. Some of the factors a judge will consider include: 

  • What arrangement provides the child with the most stability?

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyerThe decision to get divorced often comes about after a long period of strife or unhappiness in a marriage. Many couples struggle with the decision for some time before finally contacting an attorney to start the process. If you have been thinking about divorce for a while but are unsure if it is the right move, there are a number of questions that you should consider.

Have You Done Everything You Can to Fix the Relationship?

The first important consideration is whether or not all reasonable steps have been taken to save the marriage. What constitutes “reasonable steps” is different for different people, but it could include couples therapy, individual counseling, or marriage retreats—not to mention in-depth discussions between you and your spouse. There are also many self-help books that might help address the problems you and your partner may be dealing with on a daily basis.

Are You Prepared for the Emotional Strain?

Before filing for a divorce, you will also need to be ready to deal with the myriad emotions that come with ending a marriage. Even if you are the one who wants the divorce, you will probably need to go through a grieving process over the “death” of the marriage. Divorce can also leave you struggling with feelings of anger and guilt. On the other hand, there may be feelings of relief that the turmoil of the marriage has ended. Individual therapy can also help you work through these feelings

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