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How to Ensure You Are Treated Fairly Throughout the Divorce Process

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Elite divorce lawyerGetting a divorce can be difficult for many reasons. Not only does it signify the end of a relationship that you once treasured, it can also mean the loss of other things that you hold dear, like time with your children and ownership of your property and assets. In a sense, the outcome of a divorce may seem inherently unfair, and it is rarely possible to get everything you want out of the resolution. However, you do deserve to be treated fairly according to the laws that govern your divorce proceedings.

At the Law Office of George J. Skuros, our Chicago divorce attorney strives to ensure fair treatment for his clients. Here, we offer some suggestions that may help you better ensure your own fair treatment as you go through the divorce process. 

Hire an Attorney

Perhaps the best way for you to ensure your fair treatment under the law is to hire an experienced attorney who thoroughly understands the divorce laws in your state. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and the implications of the decisions you make throughout the process. Your attorney can also represent and aid you in divorce settlement negotiations with your spouse, which may protect you from a situation in which they could take advantage of you. If your divorce escalates to litigation, an attorney has the experience to advocate on your behalf in court and defend your interests.

Learn About the Issues at Hand

In many cases, knowledge and information are the keys to a more successful divorce resolution. You should make an effort to research your state’s divorce laws to understand the issues you will need to resolve and the factors that the court takes into consideration for each of them. For example, does your state allow for divorce filings on fault-based grounds, or only no-fault divorces? Does your state follow a community property principle or an equitable distribution principle for the division of marital assets? How does your state calculate spousal support and child support obligations? What factors does your state look for in order to determine a child’s best interests in custody decisions? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you approach your divorce from a more informed perspective.

Prepare Your Financial Documents

The division of marital assets is one aspect of a divorce that can feel especially unfair. Without clear documentation of your property and assets, the process can devolve into a game of “he said, she said,” and you cannot assume that your spouse will simply take your word regarding your property rights, even if you expect your divorce to be amicable. On the other hand, coming prepared to divorce negotiations with full documentation of your assets and income will mean that you have concrete supporting evidence when advocating for your financial interests. This can help you protect your separate, non-marital property, secure your fair share of marital assets, and ensure your fair treatment in maintenance and child support decisions.

Look Into Your Spouse’s Finances

In addition to documentation of your own finances, it is important that you have access to accurate information about your spouse’s financial situation. In an amicable divorce, your spouse may willingly share this information, but it is a good idea to review it meticulously with your attorney to make sure it is accurate and complete. You might also consider working with financial professionals to review your spouse’s finances more thoroughly, especially if you suspect that your spouse has hidden or dissipated assets. If your spouse does not willingly answer your questions and share their financial documents, your attorney can help you formally request them during the discovery phase of the divorce process.

Pursue Temporary Relief

You may find that your spouse’s actions early in the divorce process leave you at an unfair disadvantage in the legal process. Your spouse may cut off your access to marital assets, attempt to take possession of your home or your children, or even engage in acts of harassment against you. In these cases, you may be able to pursue temporary relief during the divorce process. For example, Illinois allows for various forms of relief, including temporary child support and maintenance, injunctions against certain actions, orders of protection, and even orders for interim attorney fees that allow you to participate fairly in litigation or court proceedings.

Understand Your Child Custody Rights

Child custody laws in Illinois and other states have in many ways become more progressive over time, including by giving parents more equal standing in child custody decisions. For example, Illinois law makes no distinction between mothers and fathers in the statutes governing the allocation of parental responsibilities, and it also prohibits courts from considering conduct that does not affect the parent-child relationship when making custody decisions. However, it is important to understand that custody decisions are not made based on whether you “deserve” custody of your child, but based on whether you having custody would be in your child’s best interests. With this in mind, you and your attorney can better frame your arguments in pursuit of your desired outcome.

Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution

While an attorney can help you ensure that you are treated fairly in decisions left to the court, these decisions can still feel unsatisfying or even “unfair” because they are not ultimately in your control. You may be able to achieve results that feel more fair to you by pursuing an alternative dispute resolution method like mediation or uncontested divorce, through which you and your spouse can consider more flexible, personalized solutions and maintain final decision-making authority. That said, even when pursuing these methods, it is a good idea to review your agreements with a lawyer before finalizing them so that you do not overlook something that goes against your interests.

We hope these tips give you some useful food for thought as you prepare for the divorce process. If you need additional help with your Illinois divorce, we are available to provide guidance and representation.


About the Blogger:

George J. Skuros: Elite Lawyer George Skuros is an experienced family law and divorce lawyer and the founding attorney of the Law Office of George J. Skuros in Chicago, Illinois. He and his team are dedicated to helping individuals and families deal with their most complicated legal matters.

Website: https://www.skuroslaw.com/

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