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 | 630-200-4882
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Evening and Weekend Hours by Appointment
West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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Serving Kane, McHenry, DuPage and Cook Counties

St. Charles family law attorneyMany divorcing couples consider the option of mediation to help them resolve the issues at hand. Mediation can be beneficial for many reasons, including its general affordability, efficiency, and privacy in comparison to a divorce trial. However, if you are feeling frustrated or hurt by your spouse, the thought of meeting with them for mediation may be unpleasant. It is important to understand how the mediation process works so that you can decide whether it is something you are comfortable with.

The Traditional Mediation Process in Illinois

Traditionally, divorce mediation involves scheduled sessions during which the spouses will meet at a neutral site, with a neutral mediator guiding negotiations to help them find common ground and reach an agreement. This means that for at least part of the process, you will likely be speaking with your spouse face-to-face. However, you may ask to speak with the mediator privately if you have something to say that you would prefer your spouse not to hear. You can also request to have your own attorney present for mediation so that you have someone who can help you protect your interests. Even if you and your spouse are prone to conflict on your own, the structure of mediation may be able to help you civilly resolve your differences.

The Virtual Mediation Alternative

With recent improvements in communication technology, and especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual mediation has become a more popular alternative to the traditional face-to-face process. During virtual divorce mediation, you, your spouse, and the mediator will likely be speaking directly to each other at the same time, but you will not have to be in the same location. This can not only create an additional buffer between you and your spouse, it can also fit more conveniently into your schedule and allow you to be in a place of comfort while it happens.

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St. Charles IL divorce lawyerThe process of legally ending a marriage can take many months even after a divorce petition has been filed. However, for many couples who separate before seeking a divorce, the process can be much longer. Some people are separated for years before finally making the decision that divorce is the best option. If this is true for you, you may find yourself dealing with some of the following legal issues during the divorce process.

Demonstrating Irreconcilable Differences

In order for a divorce to be granted in Illinois, the petitioner must demonstrate that the marriage has failed due to irreconcilable differences. This is a minor obstacle for most couples who are in agreement about getting a divorce, but it can be a bigger challenge when one spouse is opposed. However, if you and your spouse have already been living apart from each other for at least six months, with or without a judgment of legal separation, the court will consider this as irrebuttable evidence of irreconcilable differences, meaning that the divorce can proceed despite a spouse’s possible objection.

Revisiting Spousal Maintenance and Child-Related Issues

If you have petitioned the court for a judgment of legal separation prior to filing for divorce, it is likely that you have already reached an agreement with your spouse regarding spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parental responsibilities throughout the separation period. This may help you to simplify the divorce process if this arrangement continues to meet everyone’s needs and you can agree to continue it under the same terms after the divorce. However, if your circumstances have changed substantially during the separation, or if you are no longer satisfied with the agreement, you will have the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement during the divorce process.

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Kane County divorce attorneyGetting a divorce is not a decision to take lightly, and in many cases, it is a good idea to try to work out your differences with your spouse, possibly with the assistance of couple’s counseling or therapy, before resorting to ending your marriage. However, you may find that despite your best efforts to save the relationship, divorce is still your preferred solution.

At this point, you may have the question: Is there anything my spouse or the court can do to stop the divorce from moving forward? Fortunately, the short answer is no, but in some cases, you could find yourself having to go through additional steps to demonstrate that ending the marriage is the best option, including attending a court-ordered conciliation conference.

Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

Since 2016, Illinois divorce courts no longer take fault into consideration in a divorce resolution. Instead, the only legally recognized grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences. In transitioning to a “no-fault” divorce state, Illinois has recognized that couples may have any number of personal reasons for wanting to end their marriage. Irreconcilable differences are much easier to demonstrate than other possible grounds for divorce in the past. However, before granting a divorce, the court still may want to ensure that the couple has made all reasonable efforts to reconcile.

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Kane County family law attorney divorce

When it becomes clear to a couple that their marriage has failed, perhaps after many years of stress and unhappiness, it is understandable that they would want to avoid further stress during the divorce process. As such, many couples choose to pursue an amicable divorce, rather than one involving a contested trial. In truth, even amicable divorces can rarely be described as “stress-free,” given the potential for conflict and the many life changes that will ensue, but it is possible to keep stress at a manageable level with the right approach.

Reducing Stress During the Divorce Process

By following these suggestions, you may be able to achieve a divorce that is as stress-free as possible:

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Kane County family law attorney divorce

Ending a marriage is always a difficult process, but it is especially hard when you are trying to divorce a spouse who has been abusive to you or your children. An abusive spouse may try to stop you from filing for divorce in the first place, and they will likely do everything in their power to make the divorce process as difficult as possible, often including threatening your safety. It goes without saying that good faith negotiations are not possible in such circumstances, and your best option for protecting yourself and your interests is to work with an experienced attorney who can stand up for you.

Protecting Yourself and Your Property

Perhaps the most important consideration when divorcing an abusive spouse is securing the physical safety of yourself and your children. If you have been the victim of domestic abuse or you believe you are in danger, you can petition for an order of protection in Illinois court. An order of protection can prohibit your spouse from engaging in acts of abuse, or communicating with or coming near you or your children at home, work, or school. An order of protection can also grant you temporary exclusive possession of your home and other property, or prevent your spouse from taking or destroying marital property.

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