Divorce decree paperwork, family law attorney

Illinois couples who divorce can choose from several methods. Selecting the best type of divorce for their situation is crucial to a fair and equitable settlement that addresses all of their needs and protects their rights.

The First Decision

The number of divorces each year equals about half the number of marriages, or roughly 50 percent. No one can accurately predict which marriages will end in divorce. When a couple does decide to end their marriage, they must first determine the kind of divorce that is best for them.

Types of Divorces

Choosing the right kind of divorce depends greatly on the circumstances and the issues in dispute. Illinois law provides several options for dissolving a marriage.

Traditional Divorce

A traditional divorce typically involves divorce lawyers who represent the interests of each party. The attorneys handle all legal court filings and litigate the disputed issues before a judge. They also negotiate and help resolve disagreements with a focus on reaching on an equitable settlement for their clients.

Without Attorney

Sometimes called a do-it-yourself divorce, couples may decide to handle the divorce themselves. It is important to remember that only a court can dissolve a marriage. Couples still must comply with all court filings and appearances. Also, regardless of whether the divorce is contested or not, the court must approve the final settlement and ensure that marital assets are distributed equitably and that spousal support and child custody arrangements are fair to all parties, including children.


A family mediator can help couples work through their differences to arrive at a divorce settlement. Mediators help couples identify the issues they must resolve and reach a satisfactory agreement. Mediation does not require the presence of divorce lawyers unless ordered by the court.

Selecting the Best Method

Before selecting the kind of divorce that is right for them, the parties should consider whether:

  • there any complex financial or property issues beyond their ability to decide fairly
  • they agree on grounds for divorce
  • there are child custody disputes

The method of divorce that is right for any couple will depend on their circumstances. The key is to select the kind of divorce that protects the rights of each party and arrives at a final divorce settlement that resolves all issues fairly.