Legal Guidance for Residents of Lockport Pursuing a Divorce

Lockport is a city in Will County southwest of Chicago with about 25,000 residents. According to statistics, 61% of Lockport residents who are 15 or older are married. While ideally all of these marriages would last, unfortunately ending the marriage may be the best choice for a couple and family in some cases. If you are considering a divorce, the first thing that you need to do is contact a knowledgeable Lockport divorce lawyer to help you figure out your next steps. The attorneys at Kollias & Giese, P.C., use a personalized approach to help spouses with the legal aspects of the divorce process. We will advise you based on your particular situation, goals, and desires.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces

There are two kinds of divorces: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce means that not only do both parties agree to the divorce itself, but also all of the major issues in the divorce have been worked out. These include property division, spousal support (maintenance), child custody, and child support. A contested divorce is a divorce in which one or more of the major issues still need to be worked out.

If the divorce is contested because one of the parties is objecting to the divorce in general, the other party can still get a divorce. The only ground for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” Spouses can get a divorce without waiting if both spouses agree that there has been an irreparable breakdown in the marriage. If one party is not willing to agree to that, the other party can get a divorce if they have lived separately and apart for six months. Once the parties have lived separately for at least six months, Illinois law imputes an irrebuttable presumption that there has been an irreparable breakdown of the marriage. A divorce attorney in the Lockport area can help you make sure that you meet these requirements.

Asset Division

Lockport has a significantly higher median household income than the national average, at almost $80,000 a year versus about $55,000. That means that Lockport couples may be more likely to have significant assets to split. However, no matter your income or wealth level, each divorce involves the division of assets and debts. Illinois uses an equitable distribution scheme to divide assets between divorcing spouses. With equitable distribution, assets and debts are divided in a way that the court determines is “equitable.”

Note that “equitable” is not the same as “equal.” The court will look at a number of statutorily determined factors to decide what is equitable in a given situation. However, in many cases, especially if the marriage has lasted for a long time, equitable will be somewhat close to equal. A Lockport divorce attorney can advise you on what the division may look like in your case. The court does not consider fault when dividing assets, unless it is related to the assets themselves. This includes wasting money or spending money on a new relationship.

Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time

Since 27% of Lockport residents are 17 years old or younger, child custody will be a factor in many Lockport divorces. A few years ago, Illinois revised its divorce law, and one of the major changes was to move away from language that talks about “custody” and to instead use the terms “parenting time” and “parental responsibility.” Parenting time refers to who has physical custody of the child at any given time. Parental responsibility concerns who has the power to make certain important decisions for the child, such as health care, education, and religion. Parents frequently share parental responsibility. If the parents cannot agree to a parenting plan themselves, the court will use “the best interests of the child” standard to allocate parenting time and parental responsibility.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in the Lockport Area

Whether you are just beginning to consider a divorce or have already made up your mind to move forward, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. At Kollias & Giese, P.C., we understand that many clients will want to get the proceedings resolved as soon as possible. At the same time, if the other party is being unreasonable, litigation may be necessary. We help clients make the decisions that work best for them in their situation. Contact us today at (630) 407-1200 or online to schedule your free consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments to help make the process as convenient as possible.