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Kane County appeals attorneyWhen a divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement about property distribution, child custody, spousal maintenance, or other divorce terms, the case may go to trial. During a divorce trial, each side presents arguments and evidence that support their claims. The court considers each party’s arguments, examines the evidence, and then hands down a decision about the unresolved issues. If you have received a ruling from an Illinois court regarding your divorce that you disagree with, you may be able to appeal the court’s decision.  

What Are the Grounds for Appealing a Divorce in Illinois?

You cannot successfully appeal a court’s decision simply because you do not agree with the court’s finding. If you believe that the judge was wrong, you will need to show grounds or reasons that justify an appeal. A successful appeal is possible when a court’s ruling is based on mistaken or false information. For example, if the information used by the judge when making the decision was incomplete or inaccurate, you may be able to appeal the decision. Procedural mistakes or an incorrect application of Illinois law may also justify an appeal.  

What Happens During an Appeal?

If your divorce ruling was based on flawed information or there were mistakes during the trial that justify an appeal, you must act quickly. You only have 30 days after the ruling to file an appeal. Illinois divorce appeals are heard by the Illinois Appellate Court. Three judges will review the decision handed down by the circuit court and the reasons that you are requesting an appeal. If the Appellate Court finds that there is not sufficient reason to change the lower court’s decision, the court will uphold the decision and nothing changes. However, if the Appellate Court finds that the lower court’s decision was flawed, the court may modify the decision or send the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

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Kendall County divorce attorney

Before a divorce is finalized, the terms of the divorce must be established. Depending on your situation, you may need to address the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, the division of property and debt, possession of the marital home, spousal maintenance, and more. Spouses are encouraged to reach an agreement about these issues outside of court. You and your spouse may be able to negotiate a settlement with help from your lawyers or through an alternative resolution method. However, some divorce cases simply cannot be resolved outside of court and the case goes to trial.

When a Spouse Refuses to Be Reasonable

You deserve to have a divorce settlement that is “equitable” or fair. While most divorcing spouses aim to avoid litigation, this is not always possible. If your soon-to-be-ex refuses to cooperate or insists on unreasonable terms, you may not be able to reach an agreement without giving up your right to a fair outcome. Unfortunately, some divorcing spouses will do whatever they can to make the divorce process as difficult on the other spouse as possible. They may insist on terms that they know are unfair just to draw out discussions and settlement negotiations. In cases like these, taking your case to trial may be the best way to ensure that your right to a fair divorce settlement is protected.  

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Kendall County divorce attorney parenting time

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone’s life over the past year, albeit in different ways. Although vaccines have started being distributed, there are still restrictions in place, including here in Illinois. Stores, restaurants, and bars are limited to the number of patrons they can have indoors. As a result, many employees in the service industry are working at reduced hours or may even still be furloughed. Those individuals who work in office buildings are likely still performing their jobs remotely from home and utilizing video conferencing technology in place of in-person meetings. Likewise, the majority of students are in a virtual or hybrid learning environment. The consequences of COVID-19 may also be impacting parenting time arrangements for divorced couples. As a parent, it can be challenging to co-parent with your ex-spouse regarding any child-related matter during these uncertain times. Therefore, it is important to work together and understand when a parenting time schedule may need changing in order to maintain your children’s health and well-being.   

What Is Included in a Parenting Plan?

In Illinois, divorcing spouses who have children must create a parenting plan before the divorce decree is finalized and issued. This legal document addresses certain child-related issues, such as who and how decisions will be made regarding their living arrangements, education, religion, and medical care. It is important to note that the term child custody is now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities under Illinois divorce law. 

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Kendall County family law attorney legal separation

If you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce, it is unlikely a rash decision. Most couples will notice their relationship falling apart for months, or even years, before bringing up the idea of divorce. Couples will then typically live apart, also known as separation, for a period of time before deciding that divorce is the proper next step. Living separately for an extended period of time can be a good idea before filing for divorce, and some couples may choose to become legally separated as well. This will allow both you and your spouse to fully consider your options and truly understand what life would be like without your spouse. But what about those who cannot financially afford to move out on their own? Is separation required before filing for divorce in Illinois?

Irreconcilable Differences

Depending on the state that you live in, you may need to provide a reason or form of proof for ending your marriage, such as infidelity. Illinois only allows couples to file for divorce due to “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, you do not have to give a specific cause for your ending relationship other than stating that your marriage has broken down beyond repair. Before 2016, Illinois law required couples to live separate and apart for two years before a divorce could be an option. If the couples agreed that they faced irreconcilable differences after six months of living separately, this two-year separation term could be reduced to just those six months.

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Elgin divorce attorney property division

If you are considering divorce, you may be wondering what will happen to all the “stuff” that you and your spouse have accumulated over the years. Who will keep the house? As a non-working spouse, are you entitled to any of your cumulative savings? And, what about the condo that you purchased a few years ago? All of these questions are common for divorcees. After all, filing for divorce will change your life in more ways than just separating from your spouse. Depending on the state that you live in, the way that all of your “stuff,” also known as marital property, is divided can vary. For Illinois residents, things will be divided equitably, but not always equally.

Equitable Distribution Versus Community Property

Those filing for divorce may incorrectly believe that everything will be split 50/50 between them and their spouse, while others may be concerned that they will not get much at all during the division process. For a select few states that follow community property laws, things really are divided 50/50, and while this may seem like a more fair way to do things, some would argue that additional consideration should go into the division process. For the vast majority of the United States, Illinois included, the court follows equitable distribution laws when it comes to divorce. According to equitable distribution, a judge will consider a number of factors about the couple’s marriage, financial status, and more before making a decision about how things should be divvied up.

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