Do I Need an Attorney to get a Divorce in Illinois?

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law | Illinois Family Law Explained

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
August 5, 2019

In this article we will answer some of the most popular questions about Illinois Family Law, including "Do I need an attorney to get a divorce in Illinois?", "How long does a divorce take in Illinois?", "How is child support determined in Illinois?", and "How can I change my child support payments in Illinois?"

Do I Need an Attorney to get a Divorce in Illinois?

While an attorney is not required for a divorce in Illinois, there are several benefits to having an attorney, even in the most seemingly-simple divorce cases.  A divorce can be stressful and emotional, so distancing yourself from the process will help assure that the decisions made are objective and in the best interest of the parties.  Divorces are also highly complex and impact the rest of the lives for both parties and their loved ones, so handing off much of the legal proceedings to an attorney will give peace of mind that someone who is knowledgeable in the law is assuring that the best results are achieved.

For other relevant divorce questions, see our article “Illinois Divorce FAQ

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois?

The divorce timeline in Illinois is significantly varied depending on the complexity of the divorce. The shortest and simplest form of divorce is an uncontested divorce where both parties are agreeing to the divorce and agreeing to split their shared property evenly.  These divorces can be as quick as 2 months depending on the complexity of the agreement and scheduling.  On the opposite end, a contested divorce where the parties are not in full agreement typically have around a 6 month waiting period before the divorce begins, and a highly complex and argumentative divorce can add even more time to that - even a year or more - if the parties are unable to agree on terms.  To assure your divorce is processed in the most timely manner possible, we recommend finding a divorce attorney.

For more detail on the timeline of divorce and what can affect in, read our article “How Long Does a Divorce Take?

How is Child Support Determined in Illinois?

In 2017, Illinois changed their child support laws to an income shares model.  This differs significantly from previous child support determination laws.  Previously, Illinois child support was determined simply by percentages of the obligor's income that escalated the more children were involved.  In the income shares model, the income of both parties is taken into account, and, in shared parenting situations, the amount of time the obligor spends with the child is also a factor.

For more on the new 2018 law for Child Support calculation, see our article “Illinois Child Support 2018

How Can I Change my Child Support Payments in Illinois?

The most common way to change your child support - either the payment you make or the payment you receive - is when there is a significant change in income for one or both of the parents.  In order to make this change, you must present your matter to the court to determine that the change of income is significant enough to warrant a change the to agreement.  Often, this happens when a career change occurs that changes the annual income of a parent. This can include positive change such as a promotion or a new job or a negative change such as being laid off or demoted.  Other changes can include options for college education or child support beyond the age of 18.  As child support changes are a matter that requires court appearance and changes to a legal document, we recommend consulting with an attorney ahead of the change to assure it is in your best interest and being completed properly.  

For a more detailed answer to this question, see our article “Child Support Modification Explained.”

Contact us for an appoinment

Additional Financial Considerations
from Financial Experts

From Financial Experts

For many years, financial institutions have been creating a disservice to clients and the industry as a whole for years.
View More Professional Considerations

Presented By O'Flaherty Law

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our offices in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, St. Charles, Lake in the Hills and Tinley Park, Illinois.

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.

Leave a Comment With Your Questions

Read more about

Child Support

Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a free consultation for legal advice specific to your situation.

Here are some articles that may interest you