contested, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyDivorces in Illinois can be either contested or uncontested. At the crux of any divorce are the issues of property and debt division, child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities, and support/maintenance payments. When divorcing couples are able to come to an agreement about these issues, either on their own or through mediation, they can begin an uncontested divorce. Although every divorce involves at least some degree of disagreement, these disagreements do not always require court intervention. On the other hand, spouses who cannot come to an agreement on their own must undergo a contested divorce.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

Contested divorces are those in which spouses cannot reach a decision as to the terms of the divorce and must therefore go to trial. Contested divorces can be more expensive and time-consuming than uncontested divorces, so most experts suggest avoiding this route. However, in some cases, such as when one or both spouses are unwilling or unable to cooperate, a contested divorce is necessary.

Generally, a contested divorce involves the following steps:

  • Filing the petition for dissolution of marriage;
  • Responding to the petition;
  • Hiring a competent divorce attorney;
  • “Divorce discovery” which is the information-gathering process;
  • Pre-trial legal motions and hearings;
  • Negotiations and settlement proposals;
  • The court trial; and
  • Any appeals brought by a spouse.

The court will examine all of the issues related to the divorce and issue a final order which includes all of the judge’s verdicts. Spouses are expected to follow the instructions in the final divorce order. A spouse who disagrees with the outcome of a divorce trial does have the right to appeal, however, appeals are not always successful.

Dealing with the Emotional Burden of a Contested Divorce

Although every divorce has the potential to be emotionally taxing, contested divorces are often especially burdensome. Mental health experts suggest that those going through a contested or high-conflict divorce practice a high degree of self-care during the separation and divorce process. Accepting your feelings as they are and giving yourself permission to grieve the situation can be helpful. Additionally, experts suggest sticking to a schedule, getting regular exercise, eating healthy, and engaging in hobbies during stressful divorces. Many people find that a divorce support group or reaching out to friends, family, or community members can help them manage the emotional burden of a challenging divorce as well.

Contact an Arlington Heights Family Law Attorney

For more information about Illinois divorce law, contact the dedicated Rolling Meadows divorce lawyers at the Cosley Law Office. Call us today at 847-253-3100 to set up your completely cost-free initial consultation.



Posted in Divorce, Illinois Family Law Attorney | Tagged , , , , ,

legal separation, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIf you and your spouse are considering ending your marriage, you may have questions about legal separation. Although divorce is the most common way a married couple splits, it is not the only option Illinois couples have. A legal separation is a special court order that dictates the rights and responsibilities of a couple. A legal separation does not technically end a marriage, but it functions very similarly to a divorce. Although legal separations are less common than divorce, they can be a beneficial legal tool for spouses who have personal or financial issues upsetting the marriage. There are advantages and disadvantages to both divorce and legal separation. A qualified Illinois family law attorney can help you further understand which option is best for your unique family and financial situation.

Differences Between Divorce and Legal Separation

The most important difference between legal separation and divorce is that a legally separated couple remains legally married whereas a divorced couple is no longer legally married. Some couples choose a legal separation instead of a divorce specifically because this option allows them to stay legally married. Remaining legally married is important to some for cultural or religious reasons. A separation also preserves most healthcare and social security benefits that are generally terminated through a divorce. Divorce ends spouses’ rights to property benefits upon the death of the other, but couples with a legal separation still have property rights.

Spousal Maintenance, Child Custody, and Parental Responsibilities

As a part of the separation process, a court can decide the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly called child custody), parenting time (visitation), child support, and spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support). Some couples find that a legal separation can help them provide a stable child custody and visitation schedule while they consider the possibility of divorce. The courts are not authorized to divide marital property during a separation unless the spouses agree on how marital property should be distributed.

Illinois couples seeking a separation will be asked to sign a “separation agreement.” This legally binding contract includes directives regarding:

  • Child custody and the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities;
  • Child visitation and parenting time;
  • Child support;
  • Marital property division and sharing of debts, if the couple chooses; and
  • Spousal maintenance and spousal support.

Contact an Experienced Rolling Meadows, Illinois Family Law Attorney

For more information about legal separation, divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance, or other aspects of family law, contact the knowledgeable Arlington Heights divorce lawyers at Cosley Law Office. Call our office today at 847-253-3100 to schedule your cost-free initial consultation.



Posted in Divorce, Legal Separation | Tagged , , , , , ,

Rolling Meadows child custody lawyerAmong all of the decisions made during a divorce, issues pertaining to children are some of the most important elements that must be settled. These issues can include parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and other child-centered concerns. All of these things will be covered in a parenting plan, which Illinois requires as a part of your divorce settlement if you have children. Parenting plans are written agreements that outline all legal issues, from which parent has a child and when to how decision-making responsibilities will be shared or divided. Parenting plans can be difficult to negotiate, but they can save a lot of headache in the future.

Elements of a Parenting Plan

Before you go before a judge to determine a parenting plan, Illinois courts allow you and your spouse to come up with your own agreement. If you cannot come up with your own parenting plan, you will be ordered to attend mediation to help you formulate a plan. If you still cannot come to an agreement, you will have to attend a court hearing so a judge can make decisions pertaining to your parenting plan.

You can include whatever you would like in your parenting plan, but there are certain things that are required to be included. At the very minimum, you must include:

  • How significant decision-making responsibilities will be allocated between parents
  • Information about the child’s living arrangements, such as a parenting time schedule describing when the child will be at each parent’s house
  • How you will handle changes when one parent wants to modify the parenting plan
  • Each parent’s access to the child’s records, including medical, dental, psychological, child care, school, and extracurricular records
  • The child’s residential address (for school registration purposes only)
  • Each parent’s address, place of employment, and employment address and phone number
  • Provisions which require each parent to notify the other of emergencies, health care concerns, travel plans, and other significant child-centered issues
  • Transportation arrangements
  • Communication between a child and a parent when the child is in the care of the other parent
  • Provisions for the right of first refusal when a parent is unavailable to care for the child during their scheduled parenting time
  • Any other provision that addresses the child’s best interests

Get Help From a Rolling Meadows Parenting Plan Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce, you know how difficult it can be to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row. At the Cosley Law Office, we understand how emotional and stressful divorce can be. Our experienced and understanding Arlington Heights divorce attorneys can help you and your spouse come to an agreement about your parenting plan. Get in touch with our office today to get started drafting a parenting plan that works for your whole family. Call our office at 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation.


Posted in Child Custody, Divorce, Parental Responsibilities, Parenting Time | Tagged , , , , , ,