The Family Law Firm That Puts You First

Answering Your Divorce Questions

When going through a divorce, you will no doubt encounter many complex steps that raise a lot of questions. Rather than grapple with these on your own, you can speak to an experienced legal team about your questions, thoughts, and concerns.

At Beattie Freeman Onorato Family Law Group, our lawyers take the time to get to know you as a person so they can answer your questions as they apply to your unique situation. On this page, we have answered some of the questions that our Illinois clients frequently ask us.

Where do I start?

A critical first step in the divorce process is choosing the right attorney. You should research potential attorneys online and get referrals from friends and family.

You may want to interview several prospective attorneys before deciding on whom to hire. Before you meet with any attorney, create a list of goals that you have in mind for your divorce and important traits that you want from your attorney.

For example, your attorney should be experienced in all aspects of family law; able to explain the process, your options, and potential outcomes; and should be responsive to your questions and needs.

How long will it take?

The length of the divorce process is dependent upon several factors, including the number and complexity of the issues (Are children involved? Are there a lot of assets and debts? Are there business interests involved?), and whether the parties can negotiate and agree upon any of the issues.

The more complex issues involved in the case and/or the more disagreements, the longer the divorce will take. Even a relatively “simple” uncontested divorce may take several months to finalize.

If you have concerns about the timeline for your divorce, be sure to discuss with your attorney who should be able to provide you with some expectation of the time frame for the process.

How much will it cost?

Just like the timeline for divorce, the total cost of divorce is dependent upon many things, particularly the complexity of the issues and whether the parties can successfully negotiate and agree upon any of the issues.

Disagreements often leads to litigation, which can significantly increase the costs. If you are concerned about costs, discuss this with your attorney. Be sure that your attorney explains their hourly rates and other charges that you may incur during the divorce process.

A word of caution: If you hire a “pit bull” or a “shark,” expect to pay for it. A good attorney will know how to negotiate whenever possible and litigate when necessary.

What are the benefits of mediating my divorce?

The biggest benefit of mediation is the ability to make decisions about your family with your partner as opposed to those decisions being made by a Judge who does not know you or your goals. In addition, mediation tends to cost less than a traditional divorce, gives you greater privacy than public divorce proceedings, and usually takes less time than litigation.

Is property split 50/50 in an Illinois divorce?

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court will divide property equitably, but not necessarily 50/50. When dividing property, the court will consider factors that include:

  • The age and health of the parties
  • Each party’s sources of income
  • The vocational skills and employability of the parties
  • The liabilities and needs of each of the parties
  • The value of the property assigned to each party
  • The length of the marriage

Courts have a lot of flexibility when it comes to dividing marital assets, so you should have an attorney who can advocate for your best interests.

How is child support calculated in Illinois?

Child support is calculated considering both parents’ incomes from all sources and the amount of time each parent has with the children.

How is maintenance (alimony) calculated in an Illinois divorce?

Many people believe that every divorce involves maintenance (alimony), but this is not always true. First, the court must decide if maintenance is appropriate and in doing so will consider certain factors including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s income and earning potential
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The property awarded to each spouse
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including contributions as a homemaker

If the Court decides maintenance is appropriate, the amount to be paid depends upon the income from all sources of each spouse and the duration of the maintenance award depends on the length of the marriage.

More Questions? Talk to One of Our Attorneys.

Our team of experienced attorneys will provide you with answers tailored to your specific circumstances. To schedule your initial consultation, call our Chicago office at 312-809-2750 or send us an email.