Category Archives: Divorce

Will Your Divorce Case Take Years To Finalize?

Will Your Divorce Take
In my 23 years of practice, I have seen divorce cases settle in a matter of days and I’ve seen them linger on indefinitely. So what type of case are you going to have? It all starts with the parties. Do you have a reasonable spouse? Do you have a spouse that is willing and ready to move on to the next chapter? Or, do you have a spouse that is holding on to the past unwilling to let you go? The answers to these questions are going to be more determinative of whether or not you have a lengthy divorce case than the actual facts and circumstances and details of your case.

You should be able to tell from the outset whether or not you have an uncontested case or a contested case. If you and your spouse are willing to have a conversation prior to filing petitions in court, you will likely be able to talk about the different aspects of your case. For example, can you reach an agreement on custody, support, division of property, allocation of debt and all other issues? If so, then you have a pretty good chance that you’re going to have an uncontested case which could be finalized in less than two months. If, on the other hand, you have no communication with your spouse and there is no willingness to talk about the issues in advance, then you are likely looking at a long, protracted case which could last anywhere from one year to two years or longer depending upon the particular facts of your case.

My advice to clients is that they should try and have that conversation early with their spouse. This way they can get an indication of how things are likely to play out. In many cases, the facts are simple, but one of the parties is just not willing to participate. When you have a case with no minor children, no custody issues, no child support issues, and more than enough money and means to survive, and you can’t find a resolution within two years, you have an unreasonable spouse. Or maybe you are the unreasonable spouse. Perhaps, both parties are unreasonable. In those cases, the litigation will drag on for years in some circumstances with the judge finally setting a trial date to end the shenanigans. If the parties still cannot reach an agreement by the trial date, the matter will be sent out to a judge to conduct a hearing.

Do yourself a favor. Picture this scenario where both parties agree to talk, to be reasonable, to negotiate, and to bring some finality to a marriage that has lost its glow. Contrast that with a 2 1/2 year legal battle, costing you tens of thousands of dollars, months of aggravation, only to wind up with results that are pretty much the same or similar to that which an agreed-upon case could have produced. For those who have been through the process and took the long route, most would say “I wish I would’ve done things differently or I wish my spouse would have done things differently.”

Contested Divorce Case Or Uncontested Divorce Case Still At Issue

Background Facts

This is the divorce case study for Kim from Mount Prospect, Cook County, Illinois. Kim comes to see me with what she hopes will be an uncontested divorce. The facts are as follows: the parties live in Cook County and both parties are employed in bestes online casino. The parties were married on March 18, 2000, and the marriage was recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada. The parties have two children, and emancipated adult age 19 and one minor child age 13. In terms of grounds, Kim alleges both irreconcilable differences as well as mental cruelty. She will see later that it’s much easier to prove-up a case under the grounds of irreconcilable differences than that of mental cruelty. In terms of maintenance she has a question because she’s not sure whether or not she’s entitled to maintenance, how much maintenance and for how long. In terms of pension and profit sharing, husband has a 401(k) which she would like divided equally. In terms of real estate property, the parties do not own any real estate. They are currently renting and the rental obligation ends in December. In terms of vehicles, they have a 2006 Nissan Sentra and a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix. Both vehicles are paid for and each party would like to keep one of those vehicles.

Child Custody

In terms of custody, Kim would like to have sole legal custody of the minor child. Husband will have reasonable visitation with the minor child which will include alternating holidays and alternating weekends. In terms of child support, Kim is entitled to 20% of her husband’s net take-home pay. His current gross pay is 70,000 per year so we will need to see paycheck stub to calculate the proper amount of the statutory guideline based on Illinois law. In terms of the income tax deduction, wife will claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes. In terms of medical insurance, father will provide medical insurance through his employment and he will be solely responsible for any amount not covered by insurance which includes deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. In terms of life insurance, wife would like husband to maintain a life insurance policy in the amount of $100,000 term, for as long as he is a duty to support the minor child.

Maintenance

What Kim does not know in this case is whether or not her spouse is going to be willing to sign the documents. We have to talk about maintenance as well. Kim earns approximately $20,000 per year and her spouse earns approximately $70,000 per year. Since they are married since the year 2000, we have a long-term marriage with a large disparity in the amount of income that they make per year. Based on this fact and the new formula in Illinois, wife would definitely be entitled to maintenance for a number of years. It is best if the parties talk about the situation to see if they can reach an agreement on the phone. If not, were looking at a contested case where the court would have to decide the outcome on all these issues including custody, support and division of property.

Recommendation

My suggestion to Kim is simple. Make an effort to speak with your spouse about the terms that we have talked about, and see if there’s a meeting of the minds as to all of these issues. If yes, we can bring an uncontested case through the Cook County court system in approximately 6 weeks. If not, then she is looking at a long, protracted case which could last anywhere from a year and a half to two years.