DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW
A divorce is a judicial decree by which a valid marriage is dissolved. From a legal standpoint, the divorce process will divide the couple’s assets and debts; determine the future care and custody of their children; and give each person the legal right to marry someone else.
Whether a divorce is agreed upon by a couple or initiated by one spouse, it is usually one of the most difficult and emotional decisions a person makes in his/her life. People invest their lives as well as their financial assets in one another. They have children and build financial lifestyles together and the decision to divorce requires an altering of their emotional relationships with family, friends and children as well and their financial lifestyle.
The help of an experienced divorce attorney during such a transition can be invaluable. Such an attorney can help one understand the legal principals governing divorce so that one can work toward a fair settlement that allows the parties to rebuild their lives as quickly as possible.
If a couple has not been married for a lengthy time, has no children, and has not accumulated much property or has agreed on a division of the property, an experienced divorce attorney can guide an individual through the divorce process very quickly. If there are disagreements involving children, or a division of the assets, the divorce will take longer and become more complex and more expensive.
Some of the common issues which arise between couples during a divorce include:
1. CHILDREN- The custody of the children as well as the financial support of the children must be resolved. Depending on the relationship of the parties and the needs of the children, a court can award sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents. Visitation will normally be given to the non-custodial parent. Agreements will also have to be reached on how decisions on education, healthcare, and other matters will be determined.
2. MARITAL HOME- Will one party retain it or will it be sold? If it is sold, when will that occur and who will pay the expenses until then? How will the proceeds from the sale be divided?
3. PENSIONS- Depending on the length of the marriage and the employment of the parties, each party may have an interest in the pension of the other. Pensions can be very complicated and a fair division may require actuarial experts to aid an attorney in determining a fair division.
4. OTHER MARITAL ASSETS- In general, property acquired during marriage is considered marital property and must be divided between the parties. The income of each party, the needs of each party, and the length of the marriage are some of the factors which can affect the division of the marital property. An experienced attorney can help you protect your interests in the ownership of the property as a settlement is negotiated or determined through a trial.
5. INSURANCE- How will health insurance be handled for the parties and the children? Should life insurance be maintained while the children are minors and who should pay for it?
6. DEBTS- Debts like assets which are acquired during marriage are the responsibility of both parties. During the divorce process, marital debts will be assigned to one party or the other. As with the assets there are a number of factors such as income, needs, and the division of the assets which will affect how much debt is assigned to each party.
7. Maintenance (Alimony)- Should maintenance, formerly known as alimony, be awarded to either party? The length of the marriage and the income of each party will have a significant impact on this issue.
Each marriage has its own unique set of concerns. An experienced attorney will help you work through those concerns and help you resolve them with your spouse. Needless to say, however, the willingness of the parties to reach agreement has a major impact on both the financial and emotional cost for the parties and the decision to negotiate or litigate unresolved issues is an important decision one will want to discuss with his/her attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will help you consider the emotional and financial costs of choices you make to pursue a fair and reasonable settlement.
Divorce and family law attorney Mark Heimsoth looks forward to putting his many years of experience to work for you to help obtain a divorce whose settlement is both fair and appropriate. He serves his clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County, DeKalb County, and Will County, Illinois.
2/3 to 3/4 of divorces are initiated by women
50% of all marriages will end in divorce
There are currently 19,400,000 divorced adults
80% of divorced men and 75% of divorced women remarry whether or not they have children,
and most do so within three years