Joliet Divorce

Family Law Attorneys Representing Residents of Joliet and Other Will County Communities

The fourth-largest city in Illinois, Joliet is situated southwest of Chicago in Will and Kendall Counties. There are about 35,000 families in the city, and the average family size is about 3.6 people. Nearly a third of the households in Joliet have children under age 18 living in them. In 2013 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 1,824 couples in Will County had their marriages annulled or got divorced. If you are considering a divorce, you probably have many questions and concerns related to your family and your future. It is important to remember that you do not need to go through the process alone. You should retain an experienced Joliet divorce lawyer to guide you. The attorneys at Kollias & Giese, P.C., provide their clients with personalized divorce representation that is focused on their individual needs. We can help you come to a favorable settlement to minimize the stress in the situation, or we can fight zealously on your behalf during a trial on a contested issue.

Residency Requirements

When the spouses are pursuing a divorce in Joliet or other parts of Will County, they will generally use the Will County Court House for hearings. As a preliminary matter, residency requirements must be met. You must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days in order to file for a divorce in the state. If either spouse lives in Will County, you can file for divorce there as long as the state residency requirement is met. Additional requirements may apply to couples with children.

Division of Assets in an Illinois Divorce

One of the most common questions that spouses may have when they are considering a divorce is how their assets will be divided. Typically, a court will approve a settlement that a couple can reach together, and it will enforce a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement that is found to be valid. However, understanding the law can help you even during settlement negotiations because you will know what the range of outcomes may be if the case does end up going to trial. Our Joliet divorce attorneys can advise you on how a court is likely to handle the division of assets in your case.

The first step in dividing property is determining which property is marital property and which is separate property. Separate property is considered to belong to only one of the spouses, so that spouse will keep it in its entirety after the divorce, assuming that a settlement does not provide otherwise. By contrast, marital property is subject to division between the spouses.

Marital property is typically any property that either spouse earns or acquires during the marriage. However, there are some exceptions. Gifts or inheritances that are given or bequeathed to only one of the parties during the marriage will usually be considered separate property unless the property has been transmuted into marital property. Our Joliet divorce attorneys can explain what this means in more detail. Transmutation occurs when the separate property is comingled with marital property. For example, if one spouse is left money by a relative, and the money is deposited into a joint account that is used for household expenses, this likely suggests that it was transmuted into marital property. On the other hand, if the money is kept in a separate account in only the inheriting spouse’s name and is only used for the personal expenses of that spouse, it would probably be separate property, and thus the other spouse would not be entitled to any of it upon a divorce.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois uses an equitable distribution system for dividing marital property in a divorce. Once the court has determined what is marital property and what is separate property, it will divide the marital property equitably, or fairly. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal, although marital property will usually be more or less split in half. The court does not consider the reasons why the marriage ended or any wrongdoing by either spouse when dividing assets.

Contact a Skilled Divorce Lawyer in the Joliet Area Today

The attorneys at Kollias & Giese, P.C., work with clients using an individualized approach. Our attorneys have experience guiding people through both uncontested divorces and divorces that go to trial. We carefully listen to and communicate with each client so that their voice is heard and their questions are answered. Contact us today at 630-407-1200 or online to set up a consultation. Our client-centered approach means that we also offer evening and weekend appointments if needed.