Considering It? Consult a North Shore Divorce Lawyer.
The average marriage lasts just over eight years.
Marriages end for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes, it’s no one’s fault. Others aren’t quite as amicable. But when it’s really over, you need to be prepared, whether you live along the North Shore or in the heart of Chicago.
As leaders in family law and commercial litigation, the Chicagoland divorce lawyers and financial professionals at O. Long Law are passionate about one thing: safeguarding you and your family’s future.
O. Long Law Helps
- Ensure The Safety & Security of Your Children
- Fairly Divide Marital Property & Assets
- Plan for Long-Term Financial Stability
- Enforce or Pursue Necessary Court Orders
- Address Future Needs, Custody Issues, or Modifications
Uncontested Divorce Resolved in 8 Weeks
Our client needed a speedy divorce, and she and her spouse had already come to an agreement. After coming to O. Long Law, we completed the entire process in 8 weeks.
Settlement in Highly-Contested Divorce
After staying in divorce limbo for over three years, a client retained O. Long Law and quickly reached a mutually agreed conclusion.
Client Keeps Entire Pension Post Divorce
As part of a negotiated divorce settlement, we preserved our client’s entire pension, safeguarding what she spent her career building.
Why Our Firm?
As a women-led law firm, we saw the need for progressive and unflinching representation for those going through a divorce.
Clients benefit from:
- A team approach, so you’re not going through things alone.
- Extensive litigation background, so you can’t be bullied.
- Honest advice and clear communication that keeps you informed.
- Tough-as-nails lawyers fighting for you, your kids, and everything you’re entitled to.
Meet Your Family's Team
Illinois Divorce: Laws & What To Consider
The Long & Short of It…
Under Illinois law, divorce is a “dissolution of marriage.” This legally terminates the marriage contract and makes determinations regarding how marital property is split and when spousal support is appropriate. Custody plans, now called parenting plans and allocations of parental responsibilities, if they apply, require additional documentation.
Grounds & No-Fault Divorce
Illinois has been a “no-fault divorce” state since 2016. Divorcing couples only need to state that they have irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences are any that “have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” where “efforts at reconciliation have failed,” and “future efforts would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family.”
One of the spouses must be an Illinois resident or stationed in Illinois as a member of the armed services for 90-days before filing for divorce.
Types of Divorce
A divorce falls into one of three categories in Illinois: contested, uncontested, or default.
- Uncontested divorce: both parties agree on how to divide the marital estate and allocate parenting time (if applicable).
- Contested divorce: There is obvious disagreement about dividing the estate and sharing parenting duties. Contested divorces are mostly settled through negotiation, official mediation, or Court.
- Default divorce: When one party is absent and doesn’t participate, nor do they respond to notices from the Court or their spouse. After a certain time has passed and criteria met, the Court may issue a divorce decree by default.
Divorce & Children
Children add a new layer of complexity to ending a marriage. At O. Long Law, we share the goal of ensuring your kids are happy, safe, and provided for.
The law classifies custody as legal or residential. Legal custody applies to making important decisions (school, medical care, religious affiliation). Residential custody dictates where a child lives and who is obligated to pay child support.
Custody plans are generally worked out as part of the divorce through negotiation or can be decided by a judge when parties cannot agree. While many believe that the courts in Illinois favor the mother, custody decisions are, in fact, based on the best interests of the child and differ case by case.
Dividing Marital Assets
One of the main financial considerations in a divorce is distinguishing between marital and non-marital property, fairly dividing assets, and identifying everything you have a legal claim to.
Under Illinois law, marital property does not have to be divided equally in a 50/50 split. Instead, the court looks for a property division that is fair, or equitable, based on:
- The length of the marriage.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse.
- The age, health, and financial needs of each spouse.
- The financial contributions of each spouse during the marriage.
- Any relevant child custody agreements.
- Any harmful financial behaviors by either spouse.
The court will consider agreements made as part of an uncontested divorce, as long as the agreement does not unfairly disadvantage one spouse.
Our extensive financial background makes O. Long Law ideally suited to address the various economic implications of a divorce. This is includes assigning business valuations, splitting retirement and investment portfolios, insurance considerations, and any potential tax liabilities.
Support & Alimony
Alimony, spousal maintenance, and spousal support are all terms referring to the same thing: court-ordered payments from one party to another after a divorce to help the receiving party with their financial needs.
Unlike other facets of a divorce, spousal support is not mandatory. Instead, the court considers whether support is appropriate, how much, and for how long.
Support decisions are based on:
- Each spouse’s assets and liabilities.
- Income, education, and earning capacity of each spouse.
- Each Spouses’ age, health, and standard of living.
- Any financial or career sacrifices made by either spouse.
- Any parental responsibilities that may affect earning capacity.
Filing for Divorce in Illinois
Whether it’s contested or uncontested, to get a divorce in Illinois, you need to file the appropriate Petition for Dissolution of Marriage along with any required documentation in your county’s circuit court. The additional documents will vary based on the complexity of your situation. Generally, they include your petition, parenting plan if it applies, and financial documentation.
Serving Divorce Papers
After a divorce is filed, notice must be given to the “respondent” in person.
Negotiation & Settlement
After your spouse files their appearance, the process to divide your household can begin. If you cannot agree, you can choose to litigate, involving the court in making these decisions.
Individuals are encouraged to reach agreements themselves, concerning property, child custody, and child or alimony payments.
If individuals cannot reach an agreement themselves, litigation will continue until a judge accepts an agreement or listens to the case in a hearing or trial. Litigation includes discovery, pre-trial negotiations, and ultimately a trial if an agreement still hasn’t been reached.
This all results in a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage which makes your divorce final.
Uncontested divorce cases or those that proceed by default don’t have a “waiting period” and can move forward as soon as your ex’s 30 days to respond have passed.
Contested divorces can sometimes take months or years based on the issues involved.
Frankly, when couples cannot find common ground, that’s what makes a divorce last longer and more expensive. Conflict always comes at a premium, so work with a divorce lawyer who can fight and negotiate to find solutions that spare you time, stress, and money.
Our lawyers believe in agreeing when you can, fighting when you must, but always fighting to win. With our skill in complex divorces involving business interests and significant assets, let us explain all the options.
We don’t water it down or waste time.
WILL A DIVORCE AFFECT MY PRIVATE BUSINESS?
If you own a business, we can consider all your options. We have an extensive network of business attorneys, evaluators, and outside expert consultants who help our clients devise the right strategy for their families and businesses.
WILL I LOSE PART OF MY PENSION OR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT?
Under Illinois law, “marital property” means all property, including debts, acquired by either spouse during the marriage, with certain exceptions. This means retirement accounts or pensions either spouse earned are likely marital property. We can help you decide steps to secure your retirement and put you on your best path forward after divorce.
CAN I AFFORD A DIVORCE LAWYER?
Ending a marriage that doesn’t work is an investment in the rest of your life and happiness. There are various ways to finance a divorce case that we can discuss, and at O. Long Law, we always work to achieve the most time- and cost-efficient solution.
Illinois also has a method to “level the playing field” for spouses who do not have access to marital assets that could pay for an attorney. We can assist you in determining whether you can benefit.
HOW FAST CAN I GET DIVORCED?
An uncontested divorce can take as little as 30 days if you meet the residency criteria. Contested divorces usually take a minimum of 9 months. However, this is all dependent on various factors such as: whether or not you have children, how many assets are involved, and the level of agreement on critical issues.
CAN YOU HELP MAKE SURE MY KIDS ARE OK?
Yes. We will work with you to prioritize your children’s well-being both during and after divorce, as part of a coordinated strategy taking into account your financial future and theirs, their education and special needs (if any), and their safety and happiness.
WHERE DO YOU PRACTICE & HOW DO I REACH YOU?
We handle divorces in Cook, Lake, Will, and DuPage counties. We are based in Evanston, on Chicago’s North Shore, which includes the communities of Northbrook, Deerfield, Glenview, Northfield, Glencoe, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Wilmette, and Winnetka.
We’ll schedule a quick 30-minute call to set up a divorce consultation. One of our lawyers will review your situation, go over what’s important to you, and offer some advice.
Our hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm, and currently, we’re holding meetings via telephone or Zoom.