What Issues Can Prolong the Divorce Process in Illinois?
Unfortunately, not all couples live happily ever after. The latest statistics show that approximately 40-50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. During these challenging times of COVID-19, many people have been spending more time than usual at home. This can be a blessing and a curse depending on the situation. For some families, quality time together has strengthened their relationships. For others, though, it may have exposed underlying problems within their unions. Regardless of the reasons that two people choose to dissolve their marriage, there are certain steps that must be completed before they can walk away. There are many things that may cause delays in finalizing your divorce, so it is important to be patient. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this complex process.
A divorce that involves children is inherently more complicated than one without kids simply because there are fewer issues to resolve. When a couple has children together, decisions must be made regarding what is in the children’s best interests and what meets their basic needs. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the Income Shares model based on both parents’ net incomes. However, child custody and visitation may be worked out between parents if they can agree on an arrangement. However, coming up with a mutually agreeable schedule can be difficult since both parents often want as much time with their children as possible. Figuring out who gets the kids on what holidays and during the summer or school breaks can be challenging.
A few of the major child-related issues that should be addressed in a parenting plan and which can stall the divorce process include:
- Child support obligations
- Allocation of parental responsibilities
- Parenting time
Division of Assets and Property
Determining who gets what in a divorce can be one of the greatest sources of contention. Under Illinois law, marital property falls under equitable distribution. This means that any assets or property that was acquired after the wedding took place and before the divorce petition was filed must be divided fairly between the spouses. Property can include vehicles, furniture, jewelry, hoses, and antiques. It may also involve a family-owned business, which requires a business valuation to determine its worth.
In high-net-worth divorces, there are many financial assets to divide up, including significant savings in the form of stocks, bonds, pensions, 401k, and other retirement accounts. If a spouse believes his or her partner is hiding or dissipating assets, forensic accountants may be brought in to uncover them, prolonging the proceedings. In addition, any debt that a couple accrued throughout the marriage will also need to be split, and this can take time to determine who is responsible for what loans.
Unwillingness to Negotiate
When one spouse files a petition for the dissolution of marriage, one thing that can delay the process is difficulty in notifying the other spouse about the divorce. For instance, the sheriff cannot serve the summons and petition to the other spouse because he or she cannot be located at the address provided.
It is also not uncommon for couples to fail to reach a mutual agreement on the terms of their divorce settlement. In many cases, one spouse harbors bitter feelings or feels betrayed if the other spouse was unfaithful. These emotions can get in the way of compromising and resolving issues in a timely manner. Often, spouses can go back and forth in a give-and-take dispute since neither of them wants to give in on such issues as spousal support. If they cannot make a decision, the courts will have to get involved, and a judge will determine what is in the best interest of everyone involved. Litigation can take a long time depending on how backed up the courts may be, especially now due to closures from the coronavirus pandemic.
Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer
A divorce can be difficult on many levels. Even if a couple does not have children, there are factors that can make the legal process drag on and on. If you and your spouse are having trouble negotiating the terms of your divorce settlement, it is important to seek out professional legal counsel. Attorney Nicholas W. Richardson is a Hoffman Estates divorce attorney who can help you navigate the proceedings and protect your rights every step of the way. Attorney Richardson has successfully resolved numerous divorce cases for his clients. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our office today at 847.873.6741.