Every year, we publish many articles on our blog to help people make informed decisions about important family-related legal matters. While there is no substitute for personalized legal representation, these articles are intended to help answer some basic questions and get people started in the right direction.

This year was no exception. Throughout 2023, we published several articles explicitly focused on the topic of divorce. We guide many spouses through the divorce process in Illinois, and we know that most spouses have many questions about what they can expect along the way. These articles provide practical insights for spouses to contemplate filing for divorce in the New Year.

Our Illinois Divorce Guide

We started the year by publishing our Illinois Divorce Guide. This guide contains several practical tips along with links to other resources like our Divorce Preparation Checklist and a list of 10 common mistakes divorcing spouses need to avoid. In our Illinois Divorce Guide, you can learn about everything from how divorcing spouses must divide their marital property to your custody options if you have children under 18 years old.

If you are considering filing for divorce in 2024, this is your place to start: Illinois Divorce Guide: What Spouses Who Are Contemplating Divorce Need to Know.

Additional Resources for Getting Started

Along with our Illinois Divorce Guide, we also published a few additional resources to help spouses get started. Our Illinois Divorce Roadmap walks you through the steps involved in getting a divorce in Illinois. At the same time, our glossary of key terms is a helpful resource if you encounter terms with which you are unfamiliar. We also published a checklist of the primary documents needed to start the divorce process. You can find these resources here:

Understanding (and Getting Ready for) the Divorce Process

Getting divorced is a process, and it is a process that can go a few different ways. For most spouses, one of their main goals is to keep their divorce out of court. This often involves working with their soon-to-be-former spouse to pursue an uncontested divorce.

To ensure that you navigate the divorce process successfully, it is important to have experienced legal representation. Even if you and your spouse are pursuing an uncontested divorce, this still means hiring your own lawyer. To learn more about these three interrelated topics, you can read:

Creating a Property Inventory for Your Divorce

Along with collecting relevant documents, one of the first steps you must take when preparing to go through a divorce in Illinois is creating an inventory of your property. Under Illinois’ divorce laws, spouses’ marital assets are subject to equitable distribution during divorce. “Marital” assets generally include those acquired during the marriage (though there are exceptions), while “separate” assets—which are not subject to distribution—generally include those acquired before the marriage (though there are exceptions here as well).

Your divorce lawyer will be able to help you determine which of your assets are on the table in your divorce. But, to do so, your lawyer will first need to know what assets you and your spouse own. For more information, you can read: Tips for Creating a Property Inventory for Your Divorce.

Handling Photos and Other Items with Sentimental Value

While the equitable distribution process focuses primarily on the monetary value of divorcing spouses’ marital assets, some assets have much more sentimental value than their financial worth. In many cases, these are assets that both spouses want to keep—and this can potentially lead to disagreements during the divorce process.

But, there are various ways to handle marital assets with sentimental value; and, when divorcing spouses are willing to work together, they will be able to find a mutually agreeable solution in most cases. To learn about the options you have available, you can read: Photo Albums, Collections, and Keepsakes: Handling Items with Sentimental Value During a Divorce in Illinois.

Handling Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are also among many divorcing spouses’ most prized possessions. If you’ve spent years saving for retirement, the last thing you want is to start again. If you’ve been relying on your spouse to save for retirement while you focused your efforts in other areas, losing access to your spouse’s retirement funds could put you in a difficult position for the future.

Under Illinois’ equitable distribution law, retirement accounts will often be on the table. Divorcing spouses have several options here, one of which is obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Learn more: Do You Need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for Your Illinois Divorce?

Divorcing Before 50 in Illinois

Last year, we published an article that covered some special considerations for divorcing after 50 in Illinois. In 2023, we published an article with special considerations for spouses who are 50 or under. We also published a couple of articles touching on important aspects of establishing a child custody arrangement (or parenting time plan) during the divorce process:

Contact Us for a Free Initial Divorce Consultation in Gurnee, IL

Are you thinking about filing for divorce in 2024? If so, we invite you to contact us to learn more. To schedule a free initial consultation with divorce lawyer Deanna J. Bowen in Gurnee, IL, please call 847-623-4002 or contact us online today.