Divorce is one of the most stressful and oftentimes heartbreaking experiences a person can go through. Most people only decide on divorce after months if not years of unhappiness, desperation, and hard work to try and save what was often a very precious relationship. However, there comes a time where one or both parties realizes that the marriage needs to end.
Like your marriage, your divorce will be unique to you and your former partner. In some cases, divorces are relatively simple: though they can require complex legal filings and proceedings, some divorces can be very straightforward, especially if both parties agree beforehand about issues like custody and asset division. Sometimes, marriages can end without acrimony, and can even lead to friendship and, if applicable, warm co-parenting.
Sometimes things are more complicated. The fact is, divorce often gets messy, which means that if mishandled, it can also get destructive and dangerous. Parties can disagree on just about anything and everything in a divorce, including how to divide possessions, money, possessions, property, custody and visitation, and even whether or not to get divorced in the first place. In some divorce cases, every point of agreement that needs to be reached becomes a battleground.
The divorce process, especially in the case of a contentious divorce, is incredibly emotionally sensitive. It can also be overwhelmingly logistically complicated. Between the two, you may be at a loss about how to move forward with your divorce as quickly and painlessly as possible.
You Are Not Alone
Who Are We?
We are the Strategic Divorce firm in Lake Bluff, Illinois. We are a community of allies who know what you are going through, and can advise you accordingly. We are informed by years of experience working with all different types of divorce and family law, including extremely complicated and high-stakes divorce cases. We are here to advocate fiercely and passionately for our clients, and to help them confidently establish the first steps toward their new post-divorce life.
Our practice is based on the belief that divorce does not have to destroy the lives of the people involved, especially when it comes to children. Divorce does not have to leave your family and your finances in shambles. In service of that vision, our team of six highly qualified attorneys employ a strategic approach to each case, helping map out the best possible course of action to minimize harm and maximize positive outcomes. We make sure that our clients get what belongs to them, including their well being and peace of mind moving forward. While we do work hard to negotiate our divorce cases with minimal conflict, if negotiation becomes impossible, we are also fully prepared to fight on behalf of our clients through litigation.
What do we offer?
The Strategic Divorce Firm offers a full range of family law services to the Lake Bluff, IL community. When it comes to divorce, there are many different specialty areas that may arise. These include:
- Divorce mediation (a pre-litigation negotiation strategy meant to avoid going to court)
- Child custody, visitation, and child support
- Alimony and maintenance
- Orders of Protection
- Property and asset division
- Estate planning
- Post-decree/post-divorce modification and disputes
With or without those additional factors, we also represent clients in standard divorce proceedings, from start to finish.
What Are The Steps Of A Standard Divorce?
Though every divorce is different, they are all governed by the same laws, and standard cases follow a basic structure. We offer expert guidance and advocacy through every step of this process.
The first step, filing the divorce petition, can be done with or without your spouse. It essentially asks the court to terminate your marriage. It also requires you to state your reason, or “grounds” for divorce. For people filing in Bluff County, IL, state law only accepts no-fault divorces, meaning you can file for divorce without listing a specific “fault” (i.e. adultery or neglect) for the end of the marriage.
At this point, you would also ask the court for any temporary orders you need in place for the duration of the divorce proceedings (including child and spousal support if applicable, as well as orders of protection if you fear violence.) We offer guidance about how to file to serve your individual needs, as well as filing and arguing for orders. In addition, we both facilitate and, if possible, expedite the service process.
The next step is serving the divorce petition, sometimes called service of process. The petition you filed with the court must be presented to your spouse personally. They are then required to sign an acknowledgement. In some divorces, this is not an issue, as the spouse is easy to find, and/or receptive to service. In others, the spouse may be either difficult to find or avoiding service. In this case, we can help you hire a specially designated process server to track them down and serve them.
As soon as your spouse is served, they have 30 days to file a legal response, in which they have a right to contest or dispute any of the claims made in the petition.
The next step is negotiating a settlement. In cases where there is little or no dispute, this is usually the final step. It involves the two parties and their attorneys meeting to discuss the status and terms of the divorce. Parties can also opt for a mediation, which is facilitated by an objective third party mediator and often results in less contentious, less expensive settlements. This is yet another chance for us to be your advocate and fight for your rights and interests.
However, in cases where negotiation outside the court is not going to solve the matter, you move onto the next step, which is an actual divorce trial. Though going to trial can be necessary, it does have much more legally binding implications than mediation or settlement negotiation. It can be much more involved, painful, and alienating. However, in some cases, it cannot be avoided. In those cases, an experienced attorney can make all the difference by building a compelling, evocative case on your behalf, and will argue for your best interest against the opposing attorney and the court.
The last step in this process is usually the finalization of the judgement. This is when the judge signs the “order of dissolution”, ending the marriage and making any and all terms of the divorce legally binding.
Are you in the Lake Bluff, IL area and facing a divorce? Contact us or call us at (847) 234-4445 for an 100% free consultation.