Create a plan or an exit strategy before you begin the divorce process. It is also helpful to have an understanding of your current financial situation and potential custody issues.
Strengthening your MarriageWorking on your marriage can be difficult. However, divorce should be the last step, not the first. I know this may seem strange from a divorce lawyer but before asking about the details behind a divorce, the better question is whether you should even be getting a divorce in the first place. Marriage is hard work and most couples experience trials and tribulations during their marriage that at times may appear insurmountable. These difficulties often lead couples to consider the prospect of divorce. However, divorce is not always the answer. Divorce is the last step, not the first.
Seeking a divorce is not always the best alternative for a couple who is experiencing problems. It may be the case that working on your marriage, via counseling or any of the methods listed below, is the best answer for you and your spouse.
Common marital issues include: disagreements, lack of intimacy, disrespect and resentment.
There are several issues that lead couples to become dissatisfied with their marriage. If the issues listed above continue unaddressed, they may bring about the end of the marriage. Listed below are five steps that you and your spouse may take in order to minimize, or even eliminate, these common marital difficulties.
This is likely the most important, yet most overlooked, part of any relationship. Communication is essential, and it involves more than just talking to your spouse. Communication is a two-step process. It includes both articulating your message and listening respectfully to your spouse's response. Actively listening to your spouse and clearly delivering your message is extremely important and will assist in preventing disagreements and arguments caused by simple misunderstandings.
Your spouse is not perfect and neither are you. You are not mind readers. It is important to be realistic and honest with your spouse about your expectations of him or her and of the marriage. It is best to do this either before or early on in the marriage; however, it is never too late to communicate your hopes and solicit their anticipated needs. It is impossible to live up to a standard of which you are unaware. Sharing your expectations with each other will help you operate in ways that are more conducive to the success of your relationship.
Spend Time Together
You and your spouse may live together, but how much quality time do you actually share? Between work, caring for your children and any hobbies or other activities you may participate in, the time left to enjoy with your spouse may be minimal. In order to foster a healthy relationship, it is essential that you ensure that you and your spouse spend quality time together. This time may come in two forms: state of the marriage meetings and date nights. State of the marriage meetings are times that you choose to privately discuss practical issues that concern your marriage, such as financial or child rearing issues. Date nights are the opposite. Date nights elicit romance and emotional connection. You may find that increasing the time you spend with your spouse, even slightly, will increase the communication and emotional bond that is shared.
You may find that increasing the time you spend with your spouse, even slightly, will increase the communication and emotional bond that is shared.
Intimacy is another important aspect to any relationship. Similar to communication, intimacy must be nurtured. Communicate to your spouse your desires regarding intimacy and request that your spouse express their wishes to you as well. Openly communicating with your spouse regarding your love life will ensure you remain emotionally and physically satisfied and will lead to richer and more fulfilling romantic experiences.
It is often easy to govern your spouse or to take them for granted. This is a practice, however, that may lead to growing resentment within the relationship. Take time to regularly compliment your spouse and tell them how much you appreciate them. Even though giving a compliment may seem like a menial task, it will show your spouse that you appreciate them and that you are considerate of their contributions to the relationship.
Counseling via religious leaders, therapists, or psychologists may be a wonderful way to initiate or specifically tailor these recommendations to your relationship so that you and your spouse may begin the path to fostering a stronger and more fulfilling marriage.
Getting Started in DivorceOne of the first things you will need to consider is whether your divorce will be a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. Divorce begins when one party files a "complaint for divorce" which is a legal document that explains to the court that a divorce is being sought. After the complaint is filed, a copy of the complaint must then be served on the opposing party. After that, the opposing party will have 30 days to file an "answer," which is essentially a response to the complaint.
The Discovery Phase
Both parties to a divorce are entitled to gather relevant information and evidence for their divorce.
Discovery is the process by which parties gather critical case relevant information and evidence from the opposing party. In a divorce or other domestic relations proceeding, discovery is conducted according to Illinois' Civil Practice Act. The Act governs all civil proceedings in Illinois. In Illinois, there are several methods of discovery. These methods include: Interrogatories, Request for Production, Requests to Admit, Depositions, and various forms of informal discovery.
Interrogatories are one of several methods of discovery available to litigants in domestic relations proceedings in Illinois. Interrogatories are especially important and useful as they require the responding party to answer a set of questions prepared by the requesting party fully and under oath. Call our firm to learn if mandatory discovery is applicable in your case.
Interrogatories are a set of questions that are required to be answered completely and truthfully.
According to Illinois law, interrogatories may be served upon one of the parties after the commencement of the case, and the number of interrogatories that may be served upon a party is limited. Currently, only thirty (30), including subparts, may be served upon any party unless the requesting party shows the court that the litigation is complex or that the requesting party would be unduly burdened if not allowed to submit more.
Once served with a set of interrogatories, a party generally has 30 days in which to respond, subject to a few exceptions. If the receiving party believes that certain interrogatories are improper, are outside the scope of litigation or are in excess of the 30 question maximum, that party may object to those particular questions in lieu of responding to them.
In addition to being useful tools for gathering information and evidence during the course of litigation, interrogatories are also useful tools for litigants at trial. Responses to interrogatories may be used at trial as evidence if the responses otherwise conform to the rules of evidence.
Often times, parties assets are not substantial or each party knows the finances of the marriage. In that case, a formal discovery process may not be necessary. Each party would exchange the appropriate discovery documents without the formality. Keep in mind however, that if you should uncover undisclosed assets later on, even after the divorce is finalized, you might not be able to divide that asset later. The Court holds you responsible for uncovering assets before the divorce is finalized.