Divorce is something that none of us would ever expect to occur upon getting married, though unfortunately, a significant portion of our population gets divorced every single year. If you are currently going through the divorce process or are preparing to, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced Morton divorce lawyer here at Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. Our competent legal team has the knowledge and experience needed to effectively guide you through every step of the divorce process. Contact us today.
Morton Divorce Lawyer | A Staunch Legal Ally During Your Divorce
As divorce and family law attorneys, we are convinced that couples who work together to create an amicable settlement agreement are happier and better adjusted at the end of the marriage dissolution process. That said, some couples are not able to reach a settlement; they require the intervention of the family court during the divorce process. If you are in such a situation, you need an aggressive advocate who is experienced in developing cases for trial. Our firm also has significant experience with high net worth divorce, divorce with a business, and legal separation as well.
At Butler Giraudo & Meister, P.C., we are trial lawyers trained as attorney advocates. We enjoy trying cases and have had a great deal of success doing so. If the issue is important to you and we are not able to reach a negotiated settlement, we will advocate for you aggressively in court. Whether you are in a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce, you can depend on a Morton divorce lawyer here at Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. to fight for the outcome you need.
Understanding Your Goals In Divorce
No two people have the same issues or concerns in divorce. As lawyers, it is important for us to understand you and your concerns. It is also important that we understand the special facts and circumstances of your situation, in order for us to become effective advocates for you. The issues you may be concerned about include:
- A parenting plan that includes allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) agreements that preserve your relationship with your children
- Obtaining child support and other financial support
- Fathers’ rights
- Concerns about having to pay spousal maintenance or how to receive maintenance payments
- Accusations of domestic violence or being falsely accused of domestic abuse
- Marital property division, including retirement assets, family-owned businesses, farm assets, and other complex property, such as commingling assets & transmutation
People who are going through a divorce often feel emotionally exhausted and are often anxious to have the process move quickly. It is our job to be objective and to work with you in order to understand where you are coming from. If there are emotional difficulties that are preventing you from making the best decisions during the dissolution of marriage, it is our job to make sure we work from an objective point of view. We always keep your priorities intact. Our goal is to help you make decisions from a position of strength. We will be your courtroom advocates at all stages of the process.
What to Expect at Trial
As you can imagine, divorce is a multi-step process, and can potentially take months or more to resolve. If you are in a contested divorce and are going to take your case to trial, you should familiarize yourself with the trial process. Typically, a divorce on trial entails the following steps:
In order to proceed in a divorce, the petitioner in the case must establish that there are proper grounds for the divorce. Ninety-nine percent of our clients have uncontested grounds hearings. This has been the case since the Illinois legislature added irreconcilable differences as a ground for divorce. Prior to that time, a couple had to live separately and avoid any intimacy for at least two years or they had to establish grounds for a divorce, such as adultery or abandonment.
Uncontested grounds hearings are very quick. The parties and their attorneys enter the courtroom. There is a brief hearing that often only includes the judge and the clerk in the room. The petitioning party alone testifies as to a few basic facts. There is no drama and no cross-examination in this quick preliminary hearing.
Children’s Issues Hearing
If the parties do not agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) or parenting time (visitation), a hearing is held on these issues. The hearing regarding children’s issues has the potential to be one of the most emotionally draining, arduous and challenging efforts that any client and his or her attorney ever endure. You can expect this hearing to last anywhere from half a day to several days.
The primary force and testimony in this hearing will be from the parents. However, people who have observed the parent interacting with the child, including relatives, friends and other people who have regular and frequent contact, can testify.
One of the most significant and informed witnesses in any parenting plan case are teachers of the child or children. Teachers spend a large amount of time with the children, see them free from influence of parents and have great insight into the needs of the child, including emotional, physical and mental health, and educational needs. Generally, the teacher has developed a rapport with the child and one or both of the parents.
Also, in child-related matters, there are often mental health professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who evaluate the parties and children with an eye toward making a recommendation as to which parent would more aptly serve the best interests of the children.
Often a guardian ad litem has been appointed to look out for the best interests of the child. In those cases, that person will be called to testify and submit a written report. Our attorneys are qualified to serve as guardians ad litem. This experience of representing the best interests of children enhances our ability to advocate on behalf of our clients.
Property Distribution Hearing
Preparation is the key to success when it comes to the property distribution hearing. We strive to organize and condense all of the assets, liabilities and other marital property issues into a format that is easily understood by the court and everyone involved in the hearing so we can present a cohesive case to the judge. The hearing can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several days. In the majority of cases, only the husband and wife testify; however, additional witnesses may include accountants, vocational experts, appraisers and valuation witnesses. Spousal maintenance and attorney fees may be a part of this hearing as well.
Legal Separation Vs. Divorce
Illinois offers legal separation as an alternative to divorce for couples who want to live apart. For some people, religious reasons or the need to maintain group medical insurance makes a legal separation more desirable than a divorce.
Contact a Morton Divorce Lawyer
We understand that there are few legal issues more personal and potentially complex than those involving divorce. Our experienced legal team has effectively guided countless individuals through every step of the divorce process over the years, and we are ready to help you as well. Our firm serves clients in Peoria County, Peoria, Fulton County, McLean County, Woodford County, East Peoria, Washington, and Pekin. For a legal team you can trust, contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.