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Common Divorce Questions

Especially under all the stress you’re under, divorce can seem like a difficult, complex process. But it’s actually not. There are specific criteria for which you must meet before you file, however, the process is straightforward. A professional divorce attorney would also be helpful when walking you through each step.
Although after filing for divorce, there comes all the other factors, like spousal support, division of marital property, child custody and support, etc. Check out all of the common questions asked about divorce.

1. How much will divorce cost?

The cost of divorce largely depends on the complexity of the case and whether or not the issues are contested. If everything goes smoothly, such as in an uncontested divorce, everything will cost less than a contested divorce. So the more unresolved issue, the more expensive the divorce. Factors including attorney fees, court filing fees and other miscellaneous expenses can all build up quickly.
Some states require the parties to choose and pay for a divorce mediator. If there is a lot of marital property, such as a business or physical property to be appraised, a divorce financial analyst may also be needed and paid for by both parties.

2. What if my spouse wants a divorce and I don’t?

Unfortunately for you, anyone can have a divorce regardless if their partner agrees or not. If you live in a no-fault divorce state, all that is needed is to file a petition for divorce. Other states require a period of separation; however, your partner can still get a divorce whether or not you agree.
If you are struggling with accepting a divorce, a therapist can help process emotions. But it’s crucial to be able to navigate through the process and to not allow negative emotions get in the way of making decisions.
If you are still mourning over the loss of your divorce, the key is to remain emotionally stable and only make logical decisions during “good” days.

3. What are the steps for starting a divorce?

To begin with the divorce process, the first step is to file a petition with your local court clerk. This can be done through a divorce attorney or Pro Se. Then your spouse will have a specific number of days to respond to the petition.
After filing, the court clerk will stamp and give it a case number. After your spouse has already responded and you have a case number, the court will set a date for the hearing for temporary court orders or mediation.

4. If my spouse cheated on me can I sue him/her for divorce on the grounds of adultery?

Suing your spouse for adultery will depend on the state you live in. Most states enforce no-fault divorce laws, which means a divorce can be filed against a spouse without a particular reason. A divorce attorney will have more details on this subject.

But if your spouse has cheated and you have proof, their negative behavior can result in negative consequences for them. So if a cheating husband or wife spends marital funds on another individual, the court will take this into consideration when divvying up marital assets. A professional divorce attorney can help with this process as well as answer any of your questions.

5. What is the difference between a legal separation and divorce?

A legal separation means the partners are still married. A divorce means the marriage is dissolved and all legal ties between the partners are broken by law.
Even if one may prefer the other, there are a number of reasons a legal separation is a better option than divorce. A legal separation allows a partner to remain on another’s health or car insurance plan. It also allows one to still benefit from their spouse’s 10-year requirement for withdrawing social security benefits. Be sure to choose wisely when deciding whether a legal separation or divorce is best for you.

6. How does the court determine child custody or allocation of parental responsibilities?

Before all else, the court will prioritize the child’s best interest. To determine this, they will consider a number of issues, including which parent the child is currently living with, their relationship with the parent, and their ability to care and provide for the child.
Each state will have specific guidelines when determining child custody. Be sure to ask your attorney or a search engine about “your state child custody guidelines”.
In the past, many courts had favored the mother, however, most now lean toward equal or shared parenting. If you are the father pursuing equal time with your child, a divorce attorney can help with this process, provided you can fully care for your child.

7. How is property divided during the divorce?

All property is considered to be marital property unless it is proven that it was acquired previous to the marriage, known as separate property.
Other issues taken into consideration are the earning power of each spouse, contributions made by one spouse to the education or career advancement of the other, the need of a custodial parent to stay in the home and the expectation of a return on retirement benefits.

8. What can I do to protect myself if I have an abusive partner?

If your partner is in any way abusive, you can file for a restraining order before, during and/or after the divorce. The level of assistance you’re receive will depend on the state, but there are a number of domestic abuse resources and programs available of which to take advantage.
You can also get a support system to help before, during and after the divorce. Most victims face the most danger after leaving their abuser, so it’s best to have a plan of action before leaving them. Be sure to have a way to support yourself, have somewhere to go and someone to call if you’re in immediate danger. Friends, family, a plan and a restraining order will all be of great help when keeping you and your children safe.

Contact a Divorce Attorney

In addition to providing valued legal advice, an experienced divorce attorney will help you find the best solution during a divorce. For those living in the Schaumburg, IL area, Allen Gabe Law, P.C. is available to walk you through the next steps and provide assistance as needed. With over 30 years of experience, Allen has worked with a number of diverse cases and will help you settle your case as smoothly as possible.

Kelly Peterson
About the Author

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Kelly Peterson handles child custody, visitation, paternity, grandparent rights and mediation cases.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children