When couples decide to marry in the state of Illinois, divorce is likely the last thing they expect to happen. Unfortunately, however, while divorce rates throughout the nation have declined over the past few decades, the stakes still remain high. Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, and a divorce occurs in the United States approximately every 36 seconds. In fact, the average lifespan of a marriage that ends in divorce is just eight years.

(Article continues below Infographic)

Divorce lawyers

Divorce can be one of the most trying times an Illinois couple will ever experience, and when children are involved, the experience can seem overwhelming. According to Chicago divorce lawyers, however, becoming familiar with the facts surrounding divorce in Illinois can help individuals become more prepared for the road ahead and increase the chances of a achieving successful outcome.

When Divorce is Imminent

When spouses in Illinois come to a point that they realize that divorce is imminent, there are a few things they should do to get prepared for the transition. In many cases, the divorcing couples have spent years building their lives together and preparing for their future as husband and wife. Now they must begin the task of separating their plans and preparing for their future individually. Just a few of the issues that should be evaluated include:

  • Bank Accounts: When checking or savings accounts are shared, especially if significant amounts of funds are involved, it can become a bit of a challenge to divide the money fairly. If the spouses cannot agree on a fair division this may be a topic better addressed by a mediator or in court.
  • Home Ownership and Other Property: When ownership of a home or other property is shared, divorcing spouses may wish to discuss their wishes for its division. Again, if this topic causes tension between the spouses, or an agreement is not easily obtained, it may be best to seek the assistance of a mediator or settle the dispute in court. It is important to keep in mind that Illinois law requires equitable division of property, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the division will be equal.
  • Children: When children are involved in an Illinois divorce, matters can become complicated and emotions can run high. In order to help alleviate some of the hostility and tension involved with divorcing spouses who have children, the state of Illinois has recently eliminated the terms “child custody” and “visitation” and replaced them with “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time”.

Under the new law, parents will now create a parenting plan that provides details about their wishes for who decides important matters like religion, education and health care. If the spouses agree, they may decide to submit a parenting plan together. If there are discrepancies, however, they can submit their wishes separately.

  • Retirement Accounts, Future Assets and Recurring Bills: In a perfect world, the complications that often arise with the consideration of retirement accounts, future assets and recurring bills would not exist. In reality however, these things are very much involved in the settlement of divorce in Illinois. It is a good idea for both spouses to make lists of their retirement accounts, investments and recurring expenses in preparation for their divorce.
  • Costs Involved with Obtaining a Divorce: When considering a divorce in Illinois, spouses often overlook the potential impact a divorce case may have on their finances. The last thing a divorcing individual wants is to be half way through the proceedings only to discover that he or she is not capable of funding the remaining expenses. In the United States, the average divorce costs Illinois couples anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000. Those with limited income may be able to obtain a “fee waiver” from the judge to reduce some of the costs involved, however.
  • Irreconcilable Differences: Under the new divorce laws that became effective in January of 2016, the only ground for divorce in the state of Illinois is “irreconcilable differences”. Basically, this means that the marriage is beyond repair because of spousal differences. In most cases, in order to prove irreconcilable differences, the spouses must live apart for a period of six months prior to filing. If the spouses have continued to share a home, however, but sleep in different bedrooms, no longer have intimate relations, or do not share responsibilities and life activities as a married couple, they may still be able to demonstrate separation.

What to Expect After Divorce in Illinois

Below are a few interesting statistics about divorce that individuals may not be aware of.

  • An estimated 54% of divorced women remarry within 5 years
  • Astonishingly, approximately 6% of divorced couples end up remarrying each other
  • Unfortunately, a whopping 70% of children with divorced parents view divorce as a solution to marital issues
  • A full 65% of parents with residential parenting responsibilities don’t receive child support.