Photo of a sad couple

No couple starts their relationship with the intention of getting a divorce, but life happens, and sometimes, it’s necessary for couples to part ways. Divorces can lead to many unexpected complications within the heartbreak and the legal process. And for most people, this process is often filled with emotional turmoil and uncertainty. However, did you know that the process can be much smoother with the right legal representation?

At the law firm of Swietkowski & Swietkowski P.C., we strive to offer comprehensive legal counsel for family law disputes. We are a full-service firm dedicated to protecting our client’s rights, and we can handle everything from filing the initial paperwork to going to trial and beyond. 

We work closely with our clients to ensure that the divorce process proceeds as smoothly and efficiently as possible by providing solid legal support, effective advice, and compassionate assistance. Our main aim is to help our clients get through a painful and trying time as optimally as possible.

Understanding the legalities surrounding divorce proceedings can be complex. For instance, you may face difficulties in how to divide your assets or how to discuss custody arrangements with your spouse. 

A Chicago Divorce Lawyer at Swietkowski & Swietkowski, P.C. will help you address these issues and many others to ensure you get the results you deserve. We will take the time necessary to listen to you and your particular needs and work diligently to ensure you get the outcome you want.

Chicago Divorce Lawyers Dedicated To Serving You

Understanding the divorce process can be challenging, even if you’ve had a family member or friend go through it. The options are different and seemingly endless. Therefore, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to give you the best chance at success.

Divorce law in Illinois recently experienced major changes. As such, it’s crucial to understand what these changes entail and how they will affect you. With this in mind, having an experienced Chicago Divorce Lawyer will help you navigate the legal landscape successfully.

Understanding the Illinois Divorce Law

If you reside in Illinois and have decided to divorce your spouse, understanding how the law defines and treats divorce proceedings in Chicago is essential before moving forward.

In Illinois, several laws impact the states’ courts and general policies on different matters. For the case of divorce, its respective proceedings, as well as other issues such as spousal maintenance and property division, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is the main governing statute.

According to this statute, a divorce in Illinois is legally referred to as a “dissolution of marriage.” A dissolution of marriage occurs when couples decide to end their marriage, and a court in Illinois grants them a judgment of dissolution depending on the circumstances of the case.

For instance, the court can divide marital property between the two parties. It can also decide to award spousal support to either party if necessary. In cases where both parties are mutually agreeable to the divorce, the court can incorporate their settlement agreement into their divorce judgment.

The Elimination of Grounds for Divorce

The Illinois legislature had, in the past, considerably scaled down the number of grounds for a divorce in the state of Illinois to streamline the divorce process. There were several grounds for which couples could request a divorce, including but not limited to the following:

  • Adultery
  • Mental or physical cruelty
  • Bigamy
  • Impotence
  • Alcohol or drug addiction

In Illinois, these grounds for divorce permitted a fault-based divorce system. When these grounds were still part of the law, couples seeking a divorce in Chicago were able to cite one of those grounds between them as a reason for their marriage to dissolve. However, later on, Illinois lawmakers overhauled the law to eliminate these fault grounds for divorce.

After this revision, Illinois lawmakers let couples seek divorce on an entirely no-fault basis, provided they cite that there are irreconcilable differences between them. Irreconcilable differences are defined in the statute as differences that have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Additionally, the court has to determine that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

It’s crucial to note that removing the grounds for divorce has no bearing whatsoever on the spouse’s maintenance or division of the parties’ property. Nevertheless, the spousal maintenance duration under Illinois law relates to the period between the marriage date and the date for filing a divorce. 

Photo of a couple with divorce documents

The Residency Requirements

Generally, before filing for divorce, the couple must meet the state’s residency requirements. This step is crucial as it is the primary determinant of who has the right to file for a divorce. With the various changes to Illinois’ divorce law, you may wonder whether these requirements are still the same or have changed. In Illinois, for you to be eligible for a dissolution of marriage/divorce, the following statements must be true:

  • You or your spouse must live in Illinois for at least 90-day consecutive period before filing for divorce; or
  • You or your spouse were assigned in Illinois as an armed service’ member for at least 90 days before filing for a dissolution of marriage/divorce.

With the changes in Illinois’ divorce law, you need to note that the period required for you and your spouse to live separately and apart has also changed. Previously, each of you had to live separately and apart for two years before filing a divorce, although, upon agreement of the spouses, this period could be drastically cut short to six months. However, the law’s new requirement is that you and your spouse must have continuously lived separately for only six months before filing for a divorce, unless you agree otherwise.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the help of our Chicago Divorce Lawyer at Swietkowski & Swietkowski P.C., you can find guidance throughout the divorce process. With professional experience since 2004 and a focus on family law, we lead the way in providing clients with the best possible outcome in both contested and uncontested divorces. Also, if you are looking for a Chicago child custody lawyer or a Chicago child support lawyer, our firm is here to help. We invite you to contact us today and schedule a consultation with a Chicago family lawyer at Swietkowski & Swietkowski P.C. in Chicago, Illinois.