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Divorce 101: Your Naperville IL Attorney Explains Everything You Should Know


No couple gets married and plans on one day getting divorced. After all, you’ve built a life together, often with children, a home, vehicles, bank accounts, property and more.

Unfortunately, this can complicate the process, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect or how it will work.

Of course, no ordinary individual is an “expert” on the divorce process. In all likelihood, you haven’t been married and divorced before and even if you have, every case proceeds differently.

Though the end of a marriage can be both financially, mentally, and emotionally taxing, understanding the process and what to expect can make everything more tolerable as you put your new life together. In this article, we’re discussing some of the most factors of any divorce whether you live in DuPage, Will, Kendall, or Kane County.

So, How Long is It Going to Take? 

breakup-divorce-separation-relationship-coupleDue to the financial and emotional strain of a divorce, it’s common to want to get yours over with as quickly as possible. However, there are a number of factors that influence whether your proceeding will be over within a couple of months or whether it will be drawn out over the course of a couple of years.

Just some of these common factors include:

  • Disputes – If you and your spouse don’t agree on property division, parenting time with your children, or a number of other important issues, it’s common for a case to be drawn out. If you can work together with your spouse to come to an agreement about these issues, sometimes through mediation, you can get your case finalized more quickly.
  • Assets – In many cases, couples with more assets tend to take longer to finalize their settlements. This is often because couples don’t agree on how assets should be equitably divided, forcing litigation and more time in Court to reach a resolution.
  • Uncontrollable Factors – This may include Court dates and the county you live in. For example, DuPage County offers greater flexibility in scheduling than Will County. Our team can help you better understand these factors in your county when you call us at 630-470-9990 or go online to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

So, How Much is it Going to Cost?

temporary-maintenance-and-child-support-in-divorce-feature-imageWe would love to offer you a definitive answer but like the amount of time your case will take, this varies according to a number of factors.

As you can imagine, the more issues you and your spouse disagree on the more costly your case will get. This is because disputed issues require more time in Court as well as more work on your case to reach a resolution that works in the best interest of both you and your children.

In contrast, if you and your spouse are both agreeable to resolving issues and working together, you will save a significant amount of money and time throughout the process.

Please note that there are filing fees, which differ by county, for any divorce. This will be required in addition to attorney costs.

So, What Paperwork is Required? 

Every case has a few key documents that must be entered prior to your prove up date. These documents include:

  • Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage – If you file for divorce (and are therefore the Petitioner in your case), you will file a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage with the Court. This Petition is the beginning of your case and is the time where you are assigned a case number and judge.
  • Allocation Of Parental Responsibility– Most couples will share joint custody of their children and will enter into an agreement regarding parenting time. This agreement sets forth time both normally and on holidays, during summer vacation, and in all other foreseeable scenarios to prevent potential disputes.
  • Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement – These two documents are filed together and will be presented at your final Court date when you are officially divorced. The Marital Settlement Agreement represents how you will divide assets and property you’ve acquired while married.

While the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is filed shortly after you retain an attorney, the other documents may take weeks, if not months, to draft and negotiate with your spouse and his or her attorney.

So, When Can I Get a Court Date? 

courtroom-interiorIn an ideal world, you could file all necessary paperwork and get a Court date immediately to prove up your case. However, this is unrealistic given the Court system.

After filing your papers through the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage, you’ll receive an initial status date. This status date, like those you will continue to have throughout your case, are how your attorney and your spouse’s attorney, if they retain one, inform the judge as to what is happening in your case. Typically, these dates are set 30 days apart, if not more, depending on the issues in your case and what is being worked on at the time.

Remember, while you’re anxious to end the process and move on with your life, Court dates cannot be obtained overnight. As such, you must be patient and do your best to work with your spouse, and your attorney, to expedite the process.

Meeting With Your Naperville Illinois Divorce Attorney: What To Expect From Your First Meeting

When you’re considering a divorce, you’re going to meet with several divorce lawyers in Naperville Illinois and the surrounding area to determine which seems like the best fit for you. After all, different attorneys will have different qualities from their experience to their personal skills, ability to negotiate, and other factors that matter most.

To hire the right professional for your proceeding, it’s important you go to each meeting prepared with questions that will help reveal which attorney is best for you.

Getting To Know Your Naperville Divorce Lawyer

No attorney in Naperville, Illinois will be able to offer advice or guidance without better understanding specific information about your case. As such, it’s important that you come prepared with the information he or she may ask you. Just some of this information includes:

  • Where both you and your spouse currently live;
  • Information regarding your children, if you have any;
  • Information regarding the employment and income of both you and your spouse; and
  • The issues you foresee as part of your case that you and your spouse don’t agree upon (i.e. child support, maintenance, parenting time, property division, debt division, etc.).

Of course, an attorney will also be able to bring up issues you may have not considered previously. This will help you better understand the unique factors at play in your case and give you a better idea as to what to expect throughout the process.

Cooperation vs. Contention: Do You and Your Spouse Get Along? 

young-couple-sitting-on-bench-with-dog-and-looking-at-bridgeIf you and your spouse get along and wish to work together towards your settlement, you can save a significant amount of time, money, and stress in the process. Some spouses are even able to work together where one will hire an attorney and the other will represent himself or herself (i.e. pro-se representation) to work out the issues of the separation without litigation and high Court costs.

If you and your spouse disagree on many issues and cannot work things out, your divorce will be more costly. However, it’s in your best interest to meet with several attorneys to determine which best understands your most pressing concerns and will best represent you and your interests, especially if your case goes to trial (or even throughout the settlement process).

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we Have a 3-Step Approach to All Our Free Client Consultations 

At our Naperville IL law firm, we represent clients in DuPage, Will, Kendall, and Kane Counties. When you come into our office for your free 30-minute consultation or speak to Larry over the phone, you can expect a 3-step approach to your first meeting:

  1. Ask any Questions You Have – It’s common to have questions about the process and your case, especially because it isn’t something you have been through before in all likelihood. When you first come in or speak to Larry over the phone, you’ll have every opportunity to clarify any confusion or ask any questions you may have.
  2. Explaining the Procedure – The process varies from county to county. During your consultation, Larry will discuss the procedures for your specific county so you know what to expect.
  3. Retainer Information and Fees – We don’t expect you to make a decision on the spot. However, we will discuss our retainer agreement and fees with each client to ensure you have all the information necessary to make a decision regarding which lawyer is best for your case.

Set Up Your Free 30-Minute Consultation With Your Naperville IL Divorce Lawyer Today! 

There are countless questions you may have as you consider ending your marriage or beginning the process. The more familiar you get with the process, the easier it is to focus on your family, work, and everything else that matters throughout it.

If you’ve been considering a separation and want to learn more about your case and the relevant issues, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is happy to help. With over 35 years of expertise in family law matters, our representation ensures you receive a settlement that sets you up for a bright future.

Contact us today at 630-470-9990 or request your consultation online to discuss your needs. We look forward to speaking with you and offering guidance throughout the entire process.


Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.