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Naperville, IL 60564

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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Divorce Questions and the Answers You Need

If you’re like most individuals, the idea of a divorce is confusing and overwhelming. At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we don’t like to force you to call to get some of the most basic questions and concerns about a divorce answered if you prefer not to.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions we receive from clients. It is our hope that they are just as helpful to you and offer insight as to what you can expect in your divorce.

If you would like additional information about each of the questions or would like to set up your free, 30-minute consultation with Larry to discuss the unique details of your case in greater depth, contact us at 630-470-9990 or use our convenient online form to do the same.

We look forward to speaking with you and keeping you informed of your best strategy before, during, and after your
case.

What are the steps in a divorce case?

Most divorce cases follow a predictable process, alleviating some of the stress and discomfort clients feel from not knowing what comes next in their lives.

All divorces begin with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petition will contain basic facts about your case and specify why you are requesting a divorce.

Once the Petition is filed, your spouse will be served with the Petition and a Summons. It is at this point they may hire their own attorney or agree to work with your attorney, depending on how amicable the situation is.

The steps that follow depend on the unique situation of your specific case. As such there will be a deeper look into the financial implications of your case, negotiation with your spouse regarding issues such as child support, parenting time, maintenance, the division of debt, property division, and other related matters.

How much will my divorce cost?

Like most divorce-related matters, this depends on your unique situation.

If both you and your spouse want a divorce and are willing to cooperate with each other, your divorce can take as little as one month, if not less with minimal costs as a result.

If your spouse doesn’t want the divorce or is unwilling to work together to resolve disputes, your case may end up in litigation, which can be quite costly.

What is the difference between an uncontested and contested divorce?

Uncontested divorces are divorces in which both spouses are in agreement of the issues or are willing to use mediation or collaborative law as a means to reach agreements on issues, primarily outside of court.

In contrast, a contested divorce is a case where litigation is required to resolve almost all issues. This is costly, time-consuming, and often comes with an emotional toll for all involved, including your children.

How is child support calculated?

Calculating child support in Illinois is a fairly straightforward process. It is taken from the net income of whichever spouse is paying child support and the percentages vary depending on the number of children from the marriage.

Here is how calculations are made:

  • One Child – 20 percent of net income
  • Two Children – 28 percent of net income
  • Three Children – 32 percent of net income
  • Four Children – 40 percent of net income
  • Five Children – 45 percent of net income
  • 6 or More Children – 50 percent of net income
Am I eligible for maintenance?

Whether you’ve been married for one year or over 20 years, maintenance is involved in many divorces. However, some spouses aren’t eligible for maintenance and determinations are made in consideration of several important factors, such as:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • Each spouse’s financial needs
  • Each spouse’s current and future earning potential
  • Each spouse’s age, health, and ability to work because of these factors, among others
  • The length of the marriage
  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements
  • Actions taken during the marriage (i.e. if a spouse stopped working to care for the family, etc.)

The length of time during which you will receive maintenance varies depending on how long you were married. You can determine how long you will receive maintenance by taking the length of your marriage and multiplying it by the proper factor as designated below:

  • 0 to 5 Years of Marriage – 20
  • 5 to 10 Years of Marriage –40
  • 10 to 15 Years of Marriage –60
  • 15 to 20 Years of Marriage –80
  • More Than 20 Years of Marriage – Permanent maintenance or maintenance equivalent to the length of the marriage

For example, if you were married for 12 years, you would multiply 12 by 0.60 and be entitled to maintenance for 7.2 years.

How long will my divorce take?

There is no simple answer to this question because every case is different. In fact, we’ve represented clients in divorces that take three weeks and clients in divorces that take years to finalize.

The length of your prospective divorce will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Whether you and your spouse are cooperating and pursuing Alternative Dispute Resolution strategies, such as collaborative law or mediation
  • How many issues you and your spouse disagree upon
  • Each spouse’s willingness to argue every issue in court

If you agree with your spouse on how to divide debt, assets and what arrangements regarding parental responsibility and parenting time will be in the best interests of your children, you will likely enjoy a short divorce. Should the issues be more complicated and necessitate litigation, you can expect a longer process.

What determines who gets custody of the children?

In Illinois, there is no longer “custody” of children in divorce as there was in the past. Now, it’s referred to as parental responsibilities in which both parents can share decision-making authority regarding issues such as education, religion, medical, and extracurricular activities. Both parents will be entitled to parenting time with the children, though the children will likely remain with one parent for more time than with the other.

Drafting and negotiating a fair parenting schedule is just one aspect of the comprehensive divorce services we offer to clients in DuPage, Kendall, Kane, and Will Counties. So while you can no longer expect custody of your children, you can still ensure that you play an active role in your children’s lives.

Will our debt and marital property be divided in half?

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Many assume this means debt, marital property, and other assets are divided 50/50 between spouses, but this isn’t always the case.

Equitable distribution means that all property must be divided fairly and justly in the divorce. This means accounting for the different needs and future living situations and earnings of both spouses in order to divide marital property such as real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, businesses, and household furnishings, among other property.

Have Other Questions? Contact the Team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.!

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we believe in educating our clients regarding the matters of their case. Doing so guarantees you feel comfortable and confident throughout the proceedings and are involved in the most important decisions of your case.

If you have a question not listed here or would like to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with Larry to discuss your questions in greater depth, contact us at 630-470-9990 or submit a request via our convenient online form.

We look forward to offering our expertise to support you during this difficult time.

Why Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.?

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm that solely practices in 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.